Just like marriage

About the project

Civil partnerships have been available to same-sex couples in the UK since 2005. Between 2005 and 2010 (the last year for which we have figures) there were 46,622 civil partnerships (source: Guardian DataBlog

We wanted to investigate the impact that entering civil partnership had on the relationship of same-sex couples, their friends and family. We were interested to find out how distinctive relationships between civil partners were, so we focussed our research on three key areas: household finance, (non)monogamy, and family-making. For more about what we found out, see:

Our aim was to produce a new dataset based on interviews with young (under 35) same-sex couples about their lives and their relationship. We were interested in comparing this data with existing data on heterosexual marriage and on same-sex commitment practices which pre-date the Civil Partnership Act. To find out more about the research process, see:

The research team and contact details

  • Brian Heaphy (project leader)
  • Anna Einarsdottir (researcher)
  • Carol Smart (co-investigator)

If you have any questions about the project please contact Brian Heaphy (brian.heaphy@manchester.ac.uk or 0161 275 0266).


The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Ref: RES-062-23-1308).

We would like to thank all the people, organisations and networks who contributed to this project, especially our interviewees.

Project dates: 1 November 2008 to 31 August 2011.