UK sees first civil partnership ceremonies

[JURIST] Nearly 700 same-sex couples in Britain took part in civil partnership ceremonies Wednesday, the first day of eligibility under Britain's Civil Partnership Act [text], which was enacted in 2004. Registration for civil partnerships [JURIST report] began earlier this month, and couples are required to wait 15 days after registration before holding ceremonies. Partners in civil unions are now afforded most of the legal rights enjoyed by traditional marriage partners, including the same social security, inheritance, and pension benefits, next-of-kin visiting rights in all hospitals, and the right to succeed in tenancy situations. Partners will also have the same responsibilities towards the children of their partners. BBC News has background information [text] on civil partnerships; the Scotsman has more.

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