A CONSULTATION is being held on the possibility of civil partnerships being available to opposite-sex couples in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is seeking public views following a UK Supreme Court ruling that legislation governing civil partnerships in the UK is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as only same-sex couples can enter the partnerships.

The consultation, which runs until December 21, puts forward two options – keeping the status quo or opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.

Social Security and Older People Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “This is very simply about ensuring equality.

“The Supreme Court made it clear that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights because civil partnership is open to same-sex couples only whereas marriage is open to everyone. That judgment related to England and Wales but the facts and circumstances in Scotland are very similar. Therefore, we must now consult on the future of civil partnership in Scotland and I would urge anyone with an interest in this area to take part.”

Campaigners Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan won their Supreme Court challenge in June when justices ruled the Civil Partnership Act’s restriction to same sex couples is discriminatory.

Scottish Green equalities spokesman Patrick Harvie said: “The way to correct this is not to roll back the clock and restrict choice for everyone, but to allow all couples to choose what’s right for them: Marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation.

“Anything else would be a return to the bad old days when the Government decided what the best family structure was and simply imposed it on people.”

Humanist Society Scotland chief executive Gordon MacRae said: “We know there is demand from opposite-sex couples who have approached us looking for a civil partnership rather than a marriage and we believe they should be given that choice.”