By Gavin Cordon, Press Association Whitehall Editor
The Government is to change the law to enable heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships, Theresa May has announced.
Ministers said the move, announced at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, was an “important step forward for equality”.
It follows a Supreme Court ruling that legislation on civil partnerships, which are currently open only to same-sex couples, was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Government said extending them to opposite-sex couples in England and Wales would provide greater security for those who wanted legal recognition for their relationship but did not want to get married.
In a statement Mrs May said: “This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don’t necessarily want to get married.
“As home secretary, I was proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage.
“Now, by extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life.”