The government has announced its intention to launch a full public consultation in the autumn to kick start a review of the future of civil partnerships, and a final decision will be taken by the winter of 2014.

During last month’s third reading debate of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill concerns were raised by MPs over the issue of civil partnerships and their role in light of equal marriage legislation.

Three Tory MPs – Tim Loughton, Charlotte Leslie and Rob Wilson – were pushing for civil partnerships to be an option for heterosexual couples in an amendment as part of the bill.

In February’s second reading Mr Loughton, a former children’s minister voted against marriage rights for gay couples, and Ms Leslie and Mr Wilson abstained.

Many in Westminster feared the amendment was an attempt to “wreck the bill” because it could have delayed its passage beyond the 2015 general election.

Cross-party support was then reached for the backing of a government amendment to the bill which would allow for a formal review of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has announced the review for England and Wales will begin after the summer recess, subject to Royal Assent of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. 

It will seek views from stakeholders and the public and will run for approximately twelve weeks.

A final decision will be taken by the winter of 2014.