Europe Minister Chris Bryant today announced that almost 500 civil partnerships have so far been celebrated in British consulates around the world.

Since the 2004 introduction of the Civil Partnership Act – which allows for two people to be registered as civil partners at a British Consulate in the presence of an officer in the Diplomatic Service – 487 couples have so far registered their partnerships in this way.

Welcoming the figures, Chris Bryant said:

“I am delighted that, as we approach the 5th anniversary of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been able to register almost 500 civil partnerships across the world, in countries where the couples would not otherwise have been able to.

“We have always taken a strong line on protecting and enhancing human rights around the world and it’s a delight that we can do so in such a practical way.

“Consuls, who often have to deal with really tough issues like child abduction, tell me the civil ceremonies we provide are one of the most enjoyable things they do.”

Richard Angell, National Secretary of LGBT Labour told Pinknews.co.uk:

“Having a Labour Government in the UK has brought Civil Partnerships to every corner of the world. 487 same sex legal partnerships have taken place in 20 different countries since 2004; 6 of these countries have since legislated for gay marriage, civil partnerships or something similar.

“British Embassies in a further 9 countries are licensed to conduct British Civil Partnership but had yet to perform their first.

“This is Labour delivering equality” added Angell.

“This will de-mystify same sex marriage to its opponents and provide hope for those struggle for LGBT equality across the globe.”