Marriages and civil partnerships are two institutions which present quite perceptible distinctions, yet they can be perceived as equal in the sense that the law has provided almost identical rights for both institutions. However, the extent to which they differentiate is essential as it illustrates how heterosexual and same sex couples are viewed by society, possibly constituting that heterosexual relationships are perceived as the more privileged type, particularly when involving moral consensus and specific rights which are implemented under the ECHR for instance.
The Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights are pivotal for protecting the rights of individuals and is one of the prominent legislations enforced for heterosexual couples. Article 12 of the ECHR states that ‘Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family according to the national laws governing the exercise of the right’ Although this is not an express right, it is consolidating and acts as a foundation for hetero-sexual couples to rightfully enter a marriage, thus being the legal age of sixteen.
Civil partnerships which involve same sex couples endured a more complex route when finalising their relationships of commitment. In England and Wales it is prohibited for same sex couples to enter into a valid marriage and as a consequence The Civil Partnership Act came into force in 2004, this allowed same-sex partners in the United Kingdom to register their partnership.
Hitherto this legislation, contrary to that of hetero-sexual couple marriages there was no recognised foundation for same sex couples which legally signified their symbol of commitment. A case that portrays is that of Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association , it was held in this case that the surviving homosexual partner could not be permitted as a ‘spouse’ under paragraph 2(2) of the Rent Act 1977, because the courts did not regard him as ‘living with...