The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment)(Sibling Couples) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 20 July 2018. The Bill proposes an amendment to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 that would extend the legal rights conferred to civil partners under the legislation to siblings.

The main benefit of the proposed amendment is that siblings would be able to benefit from the same inheritance rights as couples who have entered in to a civil partnership. The proposed amendment would also enable siblings to overcome other difficulties, such as restrictions on applying for joint council tenancies and the transfer of pension rights.

Baroness Barker who is against the proposed amendment says that it is simply wrong to equate the relationship between siblings and family members with relationships between adults that have voluntarily entered into a loving relationship.  She believes that there is a fundamental flaw in the proposed amendment, this being that a civil partnership can be dissolved, whereas you cannot dissolve your relationship with family members in the same way.  Baroness Barker warns that extending the remit of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is a wrong and dangerous move.

The proposed amendment has created an interesting debate and one which I am sure will divide opinions.  If you would like to read more about this interesting debate, the Hansard record can be found at https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2018-07-20/debates/016BE715-69D4-41C7-9473-82CB03215DE8/CivilPartnershipAct2004(Amendment)(SiblingCouples)Bill(HL).