The main difference between marriage and civil partnership is that a marriage involves taking vows, while a civil partnership involves signing a civil partnership document.
It’s important to note that both civil partners and married couples share a number of similar rights. However, there exist several other differences related to the administrative aspects of marriage when compared with civil partnerships. Furthermore, marriages legally end by divorce, in contrast to civil partnerships, which end by dissolution.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Civil Partnership
– Definition, Features
2. What is Marriage
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Civil Partnership and Marriage
– Outline of Association
4. Difference Between Civil Partnership and Marriage
– Comparison of Key Differences
Civil Partnership, Marriage
What is Civil Partnership
A civil partnership is a legal relationship between a couple that is similar to marriage. Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004. The ultimate aim of civil partnerships was to allow same-sex couples to obtain equal legal rights as married couples. At first, civil partnerships were not legally possible for heterosexual couples. The first couple to fight to make civil partnership rights available for heterosexual couples is Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan from England. Once they realized that they could not legally enter into a civil partnership, the couple took their petition to the courts.
On the 31st of December 2019, civil partnerships became legal in England, allowing 167 opposite-sex couples to enter civil partnerships. By 2019, a total of 994 opposite-sex couples in England and Wales were in civil partnerships. Further, civil partnerships for mixed-sex couples became legal in Northern Ireland by 2020 and in Scotland by 2021.
What is Marriage
Marriage is a legally or formally recognized union of a couple as partners in a personal relationship. The general process followed by couples who wish to get married is to visit the local register office and make a formal notice of their willingness to get married.
In the majority of the countries in the world, civil and religious marriage ceremonies are common for opposite-sex couples. However, if same-sex couples wish to get married, in many societies, they are allowed to get married in civil ceremonies. However, they are can only hold a religious ceremony if their religious authorities accept a marriage of same-sex couples. This means that if the law of a particular country allows same-sex marriages, anyone over 16 years who is not already married or involved in a civil partnership can get married.
Similarities Between Civil Partnership and Marriage
Both civil partners and married couples share a number of similar rights. For instance, both groups have the same property rights, share similar pension benefits, and can obtain parental responsibility for the partner’s child. Both civil partners and married couples share similar rights of next of kin in hospitals.
Differences Between Civil Partnership and Marriage
A marriage is a creation of vows, while a civil partnership is a legal relationship between a couple formed as a result of signing the civil partnership document.
In contrast to married couples, civil partners are not legally allowed to call themselves ‘married’, especially when they are dealing with legal matters.
Termination of the Relationship
A marriage can end with a divorce. There, the married couple has to take a decree absolute, whereas a civil partnership can terminate with a dissolution by obtaining a dissolution order.
Reasons for Termination
Adultery becomes a valid reason in dissolving a marriage, but it is not a valid reason to terminate a civil partnership by law.
In brief, the main difference between marriage and civil partnership is that a marriage involves taking vows, while a civil partnership involves signing a civil partnership document. Further, marriages legally end by divorce, while civil partnerships end by dissolution. However, whether it is a marriage or a civil partnership, both include a lifetime commitment towards your partner. Therefore, you might not be able to spot significant differences between these two relationships.
1. “Living Together, Marriage and Civil Partnership.” Citizens Advice.
1. “Same Sex Couple Gay Female Women Lesbian Symbol” (CC0) via MaxPixel
2. “Wedding dress, bride, groom, wedding, ceremony, elegance, standing, outfit, bouquet, marriage” (CC0) via Pixino