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To ask the Scottish Government whether it has reached a decision on the future of civil partnership in Scotland.

Answered by Angela Constance (22/11/2017):

The Scottish Government is publishing later today its response to the consultation carried out from 22 September 2015 to 15 December 2015.

The Scottish Government has decided not to legislate now on civil partnership but does not rule out legislation later in this Parliament We will carry out further evidence-gathering and evaluation. This will include questions on potential take up of mixed sex civil partnership as part of an omnibus survey of social attitudes; further analysis of take up of mixed sex civil partnership in other jurisdictions; and continued monitoring of the number of same sex civil partnerships entered into in Scotland.

The Scottish Government considers that five years from the introduction of same sex marriage (i.e. the end of 2019) is likely to be a reasonable time period to obtain evidence. We will further evaluate and assess the best way forward on civil partnership as soon as possible thereafter. The Scottish Government will keep the timescales for consideration of the way forward under review as further evidence and evaluation emerges.

We will consider if there should be improved rights for cohabitants. We are already reviewing the law on succession. We will consider, in due course, whether the law on financial provision for cohabitants who split up could be improved. The Scottish Government has already announced that we will issue a consultation paper on Emergency Barring Orders, which could be applied for by a third party, such as the police, to exclude a domestic abuser from the family home. Part of this consultation will consider exclusion orders, which can be applied for by the person at risk to exclude a domestic abuser from the family home. This consideration will include whether exclusion orders work appropriately at the moment in relation to cohabitants.

Finally, we are considering, as part of our review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, whether any changes should be made to the requirement on civil partners seeking gender recognition to end their civil partnership or change it to marriage. The consultation we have recently issued on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 asks a specific question on this issue.

Current Status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Angela Constance on 22/11/2017
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