The Government has published proposals to enshrine a legal status for same-sex relationships, that would extend the rights and responsibilities of gay couples.
Under a new Civil Partnership scheme those registered would gain legal recognition of their relationship along with a range of new rights, including joint state pensions.
Currently gay couples have no way of being formally recognised, but the new laws would enable them to make a legal commitment to each other.
A number of rights and responsibilities would flow from Civil Partnership registration to help couples to organise their lives together.
Rights and responsibilities during the partnership might include:
- joint state pension benefits
- ability to gain parental responsibility for each other's children
- obligation to maintain each other financially.
Rights and responsibilities following the death of one partner might include:
- right to register the death of a partner
- right to claim a survivor pension;
- eligibility for bereavement benefits
- compensation for fatal accidents or criminal injuries
- recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules
- tenancy succession rights.