Legitimate Love: The meaning of civil partnership for the positioning of lesbian and gay people in society

C Goodwin, C A Butler

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The Civil Partnership Act (CPA) came into force in the UK on 5 December 2005, entitling same-sex relationships to formal legal recognition. It is the second piece of legislation (following the Adoption & Children Act, 2002) that begins to redress the legal inequalities between opposite-sex and same-sex couples by giving civilly partnered (CP'd) couples similar civil and financial benefits to married couples. The study was a qualitative exploration of the experiences of individuals who have registered a CP. The analysis showed that same-sex couples face many challenges living in a heteronormative society. Civil partnership led to a sense of increased social recognition of same-sex relationships and increased feelings of social support. Many participants also felt that CPs challenged negative stereotypes regarding the identity of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals and relationships. However, difficulties were expressed in their attempts to find a coherent sense of their new positioning in society as a CP'd couple.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalSex and Relationship Therapy
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009



  • Civil partnership

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