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Civil partnerships bring the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. Erin Dean meets nurses pleased to have made the commitment
Sheila Kasavan married her girlfriend soon after civil partnerships were made legal in December 2005. 'We were waiting for the law to change,' she says. 'We wanted legal rights for each other. I had been a hospital patient and it was difficult when I was trying to write down my next of kin. It is much easier now that we are in a civil partnership.'
Ms Kasavan, a matron in Manchester, believes that making a legally recognised commitment to one another has changed the way that people, including colleagues, regard their relationship. She adds that it has brought her a great deal of personal happiness. 'It has changed things so much - we feel more secure.'
About 80,000 people in the UK have registered a civil partnership, according to the charity Stonewall. For campaigners, the long-awaited move was a significant step towards tackling the prejudice and homophobia that many same-sex couples had to face from the public, family members and colleagues. The change in the law means that civil partners must be treated the same as married couples in a wide range of legal matters, including inheritance tax, employment benefits, most pension schemes, tax credits, and for immigration and nationality purposes.
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