Bills Digest – Civil Partnership Bill 2009
This Bills Digest examines the background to, and the major themes of the
Civil Partnership Bill 2009
including the establishment of civil partnership relationships forsame-sex couples, and the protections given to cohabitants. The Digest looks at similarlegislation in other jurisdictions. It also highlights some of the reactions to the Bill.The Bill will:
for same-sex couples which is legally recognisedby the State
establish a scheme of registration of civil partnerships for same-sex couplestogether with a range of rights and duties following registration to includeshared home protection, and succession and pensions pension rights.
allow cohabitants (both opposite and same-sex) to regulate their own financialmatters. It will also provide for a limited redress scheme where a cohabitant isleft economically dependent. This will be done through a presumptive scheme-cohabitants will not have to register their relationships but will automaticallycovered once a qualifying period of time has passed.The Bill does not provide any details on the tax or social welfare implications of theprovisions of the Bill. Separate legislation in the form of Finance and Social WelfareBills is required.
The Bill was published on the 24
June 2009, almost a year after the Scheme of theBill was first circulated. The Bill closely reflects the Scheme of the Bill in all majorrespects. When introducing the Bill, the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern T.D statedthat :" This Bill also represents a recognition by Government of the many forms ofrelationships in modern society, and an important step very particularly forsame-sex couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legalrecognition. Publication of the Bill implements a commitment in the AgreedProgramme for Government to legislate for Civil Partnerships. The Billprovides very significant rights to civil partners which raises complex legalissues in the context of the special protection which the Constitution