Civil partnerships open up to opposite-sex couples

Civil partnerships will soon be available to opposite-sex couples – and Brighton & Hove City Council’s register office is already taking bookings!

Last week the government announced that the law has now changed, and that the first opposite sex civil partnerships can take place from Tuesday 31 December. 

New Year’s Eve is a popular day for ceremonies in Brighton & Hove. So the first day the law changes is already booked out at the register office. 

To offer couples keen to be one of the first to have an opposite sex civil partnership, the register office is opening on New Year’s Day on a one-off basis for opposite-sex civil partnerships only. 

To book your special day please phone our register office on 01273 292 016 option 2, or email them at 

Legal requirements

But couples will have to be quick to meet the legal requirements needed to take up this option. 

The first date people can enter notice of civil partnership – a legal requirement before forming a civil partnership – is Monday 2 December.

To be able to have a civil partnership on New Year’s Day, couples must have given notice by Tuesday 3 December at the latest. Advance booking for notice appointments and civil partnerships is essential, because places are limited. 

Special day

The council’s superintendent registrar, Dendi Wolffsky-Batson, said: “We are delighted that all couples can now choose the form of union that suits them best, and we look forward to welcoming even more couples who want to have their special day in our city.

“We don’t normally open on New Year’s Day. But we did extra openings for both civil partnerships and same-sex marriages when were first introduced, and we wanted to go the extra mile this time round as well.

“We want to give couples previously unable by law to have a civil partnership the chance to make the legal commitment as soon as is practically possible.”

Our website has more information about civil partnerships and other ceremonies run by our register office.


Civil partnerships were first introduced in 2005 to provide a legally binding commitment for same sex couples. In 2013, same sex marriage was introduced. 

While many couples who had entered a civil partnerships between 2005 and 2013 chose to convert their civil partnership to a marriage, others preferred not to take up the option. 

Civil partnerships have not until now been able for opposite sex couples. The change in the law follows campaigners calling for equality for opposite sex couples who want a civil partnership, instead of a marriage, as a way to show their commitment to each other. 

The register office has previously celebrated changes in the law towards marriage equality for same sex couples.  

  • The introduction of civil partnerships: The register office opened at 8am and carried out 20 civil partnerships during the first day on 21 December 2005
  • The introduction of same sex marriage: The register office organised the first same sex marriage at the Royal Pavilion at midnight on the day the law changed and conducted many others across the city (Historic “I do” and weekend of celebrations)
  • Conversion of civil partnerships to marriage: The register office responded to huge demand for conversions (Ten couples at 10am).