Civil Partnerships


  • The Civil Partnership Act 2004 created a scheme for the legal recognition of homosexual relationships. The Act applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Civil partnerships extend all the legal rights and privileges of marriage to homosexual couples.1 The formal requirements precisely mirror civil weddings.
  • The total number of civil partnerships formed in the UK since the Act came into force in December 2005, up to the end of 2012 was 60,454.2
  • Following the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, civil partnerships can be converted to ‘marriages’.
  • During the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, under pressure in the House of Commons, the Government agreed to a last-minute Clause requiring a consultation on extending civil partnerships to heterosexuals. The consultation process took place during 2014. With over three quarters of respondents opposing the idea, it was announced: “Given the lack of consensus on the way forward, the Government will not be making any changes.”3

Biblical arguments

The Bible consistently prohibits any sexual activity outside of marriage, including homosexual practice.4

Marriage is a lifelong exclusive union between one man and one woman. It is a creation ordinance, instituted by God. Quoting from the book of Genesis, the Lord Jesus Christ said:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”5

The Book of Common Prayer recognises three purposes, according to Scripture, for which marriage was ordained:6

  1. the procreation and nurture of children;
  2. as a remedy against sin (fidelity); and
  3. for the mutual society, help and comfort of man and wife.

These three purposes of marriage have been historically accepted across the Christian denominations.7

Key points

The Civil Partnership Act creates a form of counterfeit marriage by:

  • Creating a status equivalent to heterosexual marriage for homosexual couples even though their relationships do not and cannot meet the same criteria.
  • Attaching to that status all the legal and financial rights of marriage and copying all its formal requirements.
  • Completely dismantling the Western legal tradition whereby marriage is accorded special respect and protection. This was later taken one stage further by the same-sex marriage legislation. The state has an interest in man-woman marriage, which involves a public undertaking to stay together for life and is a union for the procreation of children.

During the passage of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, it was highlighted that the ultimate aim of the gay rights agenda was to completely equate homosexual relationships with marriage. UK gay rights groups were fully aware of the significance of civil partnerships in achieving legal same-sex marriage. The Government commented on its consultation at the time: “It was clear that many of those who supported the principle of a civil partnership scheme would prefer that marriage was made available to same-sex couples.”8

  1. 1The 2005 budget extended the tax benefits of marriage to those who enter a civil partnership. See Inheritance tax and civil partnerships, House of Commons Library, Standard Note SN 2995, 18 June 2013, page 1
  2. 2Civil Partnerships in UK, 2012, ONS, 8 October 2013, page 2
  3. 3Civil Partnership Review (England and Wales) – Report on Conclusions, DCMS, June 2014, page 21, para. 3.10
  4. 4See for example: Mark 7:21; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
  5. 5Matthew 19:4-5
  6. 6The Book of Common Prayer (1552) in The First and Second Prayer Books of Edward The Sixth, Everyman Library Edition, Dent, London 1910, page 410 and Order for the Solemnization of Matrimony, The Book of Common Prayer (1662), Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1976, page 356
  7. 7The three-fold purpose of marriage is accepted in The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), Free Presbyterian Publications, Glasgow, 1990, chapter 24, page 104. It is also accepted in Roman Catholic doctrine, see Neuner, J and Dupuis, J (Eds) The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church, Collins, 1983, page 526, 532-533; See The Encyclical Letter of Pius XI (1930) The Christian Faith in the Documents of the Catholic Church, pages 532-533; Canon 1055 § 1, in Örsy, Ladislas (Ed) Marriage in Canon Law, Michael Glazier, 1986, page 50, see also pages 46-47, 53
  8. 8Responses to Civil Partnership: A framework for the legal recognition of same-sex couples, DTI Women and Equality Unit, November 2003, page 13, para. 3.2