City Research Online

The Hierarchy of Marriage and Civil Partnerships: Diversifying Relationship Recognition

Maine, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-0962-750X (2020). The Hierarchy of Marriage and Civil Partnerships: Diversifying Relationship Recognition. In: Hamilton, F. & Noto La Diega, G. (Eds.), Same-Sex Relationships, Law and Social Change. (pp. 209-228). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.


In 2004, the UK Parliament created Civil Partnerships as a means of providing a marriage-like structure of registered partnership for same-sex couples. However, the legislation for same-sex marriage in the 2013 Act created a situation in which same-sex couples were thus offered two forms of relationship recognition, providing no recognition to different-sex couples beyond marriage. Doing so, the law stratified the forms of relationship deemed marital and familial and maintained systems of relationship recognition that focussed on dyadic, mononormative pairings. This chapter will demonstrate the significance of civil partnerships to LGBTQ+ participants, the perceptions of civil partnerships as lesser than marriage, and demonstrate the need for further reform in order to diversify the recognition of relationships in the United Kingdom. This will assess the use and functioning of both same-sex marriage and civil partnerships, using empirical and theoretical analysis, while also looking to the future and the pluralisation of relationship recognition for heterosexual couples, concluding that, despite the Steinfeld judgment, there remains a hierarchy of recognised relationships.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Same-Sex Relationships, Law and Social Change on 31 Jan 2020, available online:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
[thumbnail of 11 Maine-2.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (526kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login