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Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill

Overview

If this Bill is passed, it will change the law so that mixed sex couples can enter into 'civil partnership'. This is a legal relationship that provides couples with certain rights.

In Scotland, same sex couples can marry or enter into a civil partnership. However, civil partnership is not available to mixed sex couples. This Bill seeks to change that.

You can find out more in the Scottish Government's Explanatory Notes document that explains the bill.

Why the Bill was created

In 2004 the Civil Partnership Act allowed same sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. 

In 2014 the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act allowed same sex couples to marry. This means that same sex couples have a choice between marriage and civil partnership. 

The UK Supreme Court found this difference in treatment to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This Bill will remove that difference in Scotland by allowing mixed sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. 

You can find out more in the Scottish Government's Policy Memorandum document that explains the bill.

The Bill at different stages

'Bills' are proposed laws. Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) discuss them to decide if they should become law.

Here are the different versions of the Bill:

The Bill as introduced

Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill as introduced

The Scottish Government sends the Bill and the related documents to the Scottish Parliament.

Bill is at ScottishParliament.SC.Feature.BillComponents.Models.BillStageModel?.DefaultBillStage?.Stage_Name stage.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Government Bills

These are Bills that have been introduced by the Scottish Government. They are sometimes called 'Executive Bills'.

Most of the laws that the Scottish Parliament looks at are Government Bills.

Hybrid Bills

These Bills are suggested by the Scottish Government.

As well as having an impact on a general law, they could also have an impact on organisations' or the public's private interests.

The first Hybrid Bill was the Forth Crossing Bill.

Members' Bill

These are Bills suggested by MSPs. Every MSP can try to get 2 laws passed in the time between elections. This 5-year period is called a 'parliamentary session'.

To do this, they need other MSPs from different political parties to support their Bills.

Committee Bills

These are Bills suggested by a group of MSPs called a committee.

These are Public Bills because they will change general law.

Private Bills

These are Bills suggested by a person, group or company. They usually:

  • add to an existing law
  • change an existing law

A committee would be created to work on a Private Bill.

Bill stage timeline

This Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 30 September 2019.

Introduced

The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill as introduced

Related information from the Scottish Government on the Bill

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Have your say

The deadline for sharing your views on this Bill has passed. Read the views that were given.

Committees involved in this Bill

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.