Civil partnerships could be introduced for heterosexual couples under new Scottish plans dubbed “a marriage-lite alternative” by critics.
Scotland for Marriage has warned that the unions give all of the rights of marriage with none of the responsibilities, and said the plan would wreck marriage.
The move, which has been welcomed by a pro-same-sex marriage group, is separate from the forthcoming Scottish Bill to redefine marriage.
An SNP source told The Herald newspaper: “There is a growing consensus around allowing mixed-sex couples to enter civil partnerships.
“It would be too complicated to achieve by an amendment to the bill but there is a commitment to take it forward.”
A Scotland for Marriage spokesman warned heterosexual civil partnerships “will introduce a marriage-lite alternative for straight couples who don’t want to get hitched, giving them all of the rights of marriage with none of the matrimonial responsibilities”.
The spokesman continued: “The Westminster pensions minister looked into extending civil partnerships to straight couples in England, and said it will cost the taxpayer £4 billion in public pension rights alone.”
The Equality Network – which has been campaigning for same-sex marriage – backed the move, saying heterosexual civil partnerships had been a “key aim” for pro-gay-marriage supporters.
Tom French, from the group, commented: “Some people do not believe in the institution of marriage, either because they believe it is too patriarchal or too closely related to religion.”
The Westminster Government has said it will consider heterosexual civil partnerships in England and Wales, with a review on the issue set to be concluded next year.