A new year, a new celebration - civil partnerships available for opposite sex couples

Hampshire County Council’s Registration Service will be holding some of the UK’s first civil partnership ceremonies on 31 December 2019 for opposite sex partners

Dec 19 2019

Karl Walker and Lynda Kershaw

The law around civil partnerships is changing from New Year’s Eve to allow opposite sex couples, for the first time, to legally enter into the same civil partnership as same sex couples.

Welcoming the upcoming change in national legislation, Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “This new legislation is an historic development because since 2004, civil partnerships have been exclusive to same sex partners. In 2014, legislation was passed allowing same sex marriage. Now, for the first time, both same sex and opposite sex couples have more choice about how they wish to officially mark the lifelong commitment they’re making to one another.

“Our dedicated team of Registrars are delighted to be on hand to help couples make their partnership plans and support them during this very special time in their lives.”

New Milton couple, Martin Joyce and Debbie Meggs have been together for ten years and are set to be one of the first opposite sex couples from Hampshire to have their civil partnership, in Ringwood, on 31 December. Debbie explained: “We like the fact that a civil partnership will provide us both with the same legal rights as a married couple, and also it will be a wonderful way for us to celebrate our love and commitment to each other.

“We are grateful to the Equal Civil Partnership Campaign team for their hard work, and five years of fighting for this right. We would also like to thank the Liaison Team at Hampshire County Council Ceremonies for all their patience and guidance while this momentous change in the law was taking place.”

Another couple due to enter a civil partnership on New Year’s Eve is Lynda Kershaw and Karl Walker. They have been together for 22 years and live in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire. Lynda said: “A civil partnership is the ideal solution for us. It gives us legal recognition for the relationship we already have, rather than forcing us into a different one. One good thing about civil partnerships being new is that there are no social conventions, so we are free to do it however we want. We are planning to have a lovely day, though, and 31 December seems a fitting day to celebrate!

“Hampshire County Council Ceremonies have been very helpful and supportive and we are really looking forward to entering into our civil partnership in Winchester. It's a beautiful city and the registry office is in a stunning location so we feel very lucky.”

Ahead of the legislation coming into effect on 31 December 2019, opposite sex couples can give their notice of intent to form a civil partnership by contacting the Hampshire Ceremonies team, the part of the County Council’s Registration Service which conducts weddings and civil partnership ceremonies.

(Pictured: Karl Walker and Lynda Kershaw).