The Isle of Man has a new law that allows heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership.
This is part of the same law reform that allowed same-sex couples to get married and was passed in April this year. The Isle of Man’s equality laws can be contrasted with those which apply to the rest of the British Isles, under which heterosexual couples may not currently enter into a civil partnership.
New equality laws in the Isle of Man
On 26 April 2016, the law-making body in the Isle of Man approved a new law allowing same-sex marriage. The legislation also made the Isle of Man the first place in the British Isles where heterosexual couples have the legal right to enter into civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage. This part of the new law has just been implemented.
This article by Peter Tatchell, one of the country’s best-known gay rights campaigners, discusses the rapid improvement in equality law in the Isle of Man since 2000.
Existing law in England and Wales
In January this year, a claim was brought by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keiden, who wanted a civil partnership, rather than a marriage, which was their only choice under the law. The High Court in England declared that the current law in England and Wales – which does not allow a heterosexual couple to have a civil partnership – was not a breach of their human rights. You can read our summary of this decision in our previous post.
Learn more about the difference between civil partnerships and marriage with this post. Take a look at our infographic poster on the right to marry and our equality resources. Subscribe to RightsInfo for more human rights news, views and information.