Mixed sex couples in Scotland to be able to enter civil partnerships

Mixed sex couples in Scotland will be able to enter civil partnership under proposed new laws unveiled today.

Shirley-Anne Somerville says the change will improve equality and fairness

The arrangement is currently only available to same sex couples but Scottish Government cabinet secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has said the change will bring about greater "equality, fairness and choice."

The move has been launched after the UK Supreme Court ruled it would be discriminatory on human rights grounds to deny civil partnerships to same mixed sex couples, while gay couple can chose either this arrangements or to marry.

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"This Bill means all couples will have the same choices if they decide they want to make a lasting commitment to each other through a legally recognised relationship," Ms Somerville said.

"Just like same-sex couples, mixed-sex couples will be able to choose to enter into a civil partnership if they feel this is right for them.

"The Scottish Government is creating an inclusive Scotland that promotes equality of choice and human rights for all. This legislation is part of that goal."

Last year, the Scottish Government consulted on two options following the ruling - whether to extend civil partnerships or to scrap them.

Other countries where mixed-sex civil partnerships have already been brought in include the Netherlands and New Zealand.