October 2, 2018 / 11:09 AM / 16 days ago

UK PM May backs heterosexual civil partnerships

LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that heterosexual couple will be allowed the right to enter into a civil partnership, previously a union only eligible to those of the same sex.

Civil partnerships were introduced in Britain in 2004, giving gay couples similar legal rights to those enjoyed by married heterosexuals.

Since 2014, same-sex marriage has also been legal in England, Wales and Scotland, meaning gay couples could choose to get married or enter into a civil partnership, but marriage has to date been the only option available to heterosexual couples.

“This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don’t necessarily want to get married,” May said in a statement.

“By extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life.”

In June, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of allowing a heterosexual couple the right to enter into a civil partnership. But the ruling did not mean the government was obliged to change the law.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Alistair Smout

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