Next year will see the first civil partnerships take place on religious premises.
It will also witness the launch of a consultation into equal civil marriage.
A civil partnership is formed either when a couple have completed a formal registration process or when they are treated as having formed a civil partnership by virtue of having registered an overseas relationship.
Although civil partnerships were immediately dubbed ‘gay marriage’ by the media at one point of time, there are many differences in the eyes of the law, as well as both gay and heterosexual campaigners.
The Home Office said: `We introduce provisions to allow civil partnerships to take place on religious premises
`Last month, the first ever transgender action plan was published. We have announced a consultation to begin in March 2012 looking at equal marriage for same-sex couples’.
Civil partnerships have been legally recognised since December 2005, the date on which the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect, giving same-sex couples who entered into them the same rights and responsibilities of marriage.
Read our guide on civil partnerships:
Joining with your partner or spouse in the UK Settlement visas and ILR applications for unmarried or same-sex partners Settlement visas and ILR applications for spouses and civil partners A Guide on Fiance or proposed civil partner (same sex) visas Civil partnerships for same-sex couples: rights and responsibilities of marriage Applying for settlement as a spouse or partner: Form SET(M) and supporting documents