The Isle of Man has passed an equal marriage law allowing heterosexual couples to enter into Civil Partnerships.
The new law came into effect on 22nd July 2016. The Isle of Man felt that it was necessary to extend civil partnerships to opposite–sex couples in order to achieve real equality. In England and Wales only same-sex couples have a choice of either marriage or civil partnership.
For some opposite-sex couples the benefit of a civil partnership might be the fact that marriage is associated with cultural stereotypes and negative associations with religion and patriarchy. Some couples might prefer a simple legal tie in which they are acknowledged as equal partners as opposed to husband and wife.
The new law called the Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act 2016 may have an impact on law in the U.K changing. Especially as there are those in the U.K who are campaigning to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples and it may well be that the recent changes to the law in the Isle of Man will boost that campaign.
There are some who think that the law would be fairer if it were either marriage for all (no civil partnerships) or the choice of marriage or a civil partnership.
Current U.K legislation has left the government open to possible cases being made on the grounds of discrimination and there has been at least one case brought by a heterosexual couple who were told they could not have a civil partnership because they were not the same sex. The couple did not win their case.
Some might argue that in light of the above case, ‘equality’ is more equal for some than others. However, if we look at the spirit of the law as originally intended in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, one could argue that the Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act 2016 merely seeks to ensure that “equal means equal”.