A government review on civil partnerships, which could take place in five years time, is “unnecessary”, says human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Yesterday, PinkNews.co.uk revealed that the government intends to review the future of civil partnerships exactly five years from the point when the same-sex marriage bill comes into law for England and Wales.

The review has been tabled by the government as an amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which will reach its report stage in the House of Commons next week.

It opens the door for the possible extension of civil partnerships to heterosexuals – something which Culture Secretary Maria Miller ruled out as current government policy on Tuesday.

Responding to the review, Peter Tatchell said: “While the government’s promise of a review of civil partnership law is welcome, it is unnecessary. A majority of the public support the retention of civil partnerships and want to make them available to heterosexual couples, according to the government’s own public consultation last year.”

He continued: “David Cameron and Maria Miller should stop delaying and making excuses. They say their support for gay marriage is based on a commitment to equality, yet they are refusing to support equal civil partnerships for heterosexual couples. They’re not being consistent.”

Mr Tatchell added: “When the government consulted on same-sex marriage last year, 66% of respondents wanted to retain civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage. Only 20% wanted to abolish them. 61% supported opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. Only 24% were opposed.”