The House of Lords this evening passed the Civil Partnerships Bill, with 251 voting in favour and 136 voting against. The Bill has now passed all legislative hurdles and once granted Royal Assent, expected later this year, will become law. The first civil partnerships under the new Act are expected to occur in about a year.
This is really tremendously good news! It will now be open to same-sex couples to obtain many of the protections before the law hitherto available only to married couples. This will be of particular importance in issues relating to inheritance, rights as 'next of kin', pension rights and many more. The new legislation will also impose a number of obligations upon those who form civil partnerships. It is gratifying to note that this legislation passed with the support of all the major political parties, despite rearguard action to prevent it on the part of a number of Conservative dinosaurs in both Houses. I think another glass of marsala is called for this evening!