Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, those who are successful as well as those awaiting a decision - anyone subject to British government 'immigration control' - will no longer have to ask permission from the Home Secretary to enter into a civil partnership.
The Home Office announced on Monday that following an adverse House of Lords decision in 2008 that the rule was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights it would be going through parliament to abolish it - It had originally been imposed by then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith without the approval of Parliament - and therefore they expect the rule to come to an end "in late 2010 or early 2011, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny."
The government had argued that the rule was necessary because of so-called 'marriages of convenience' but applicants were never investigated "because it would be too expensive and administratively burdensome."
Bizarrely, the rule has never applied to anyone getting married within the Anglican Church - which discriminates against lesbians and gays as civil partnership ceremonies are prohibited in churches. It also meant that a substantial fee had to be paid. In its decision the lords had said of this:
It was plain that a fee fixed at a level which a needy applicant could not afford might impair the essence of the right to marry which was in issue. A fee of £295, or £590 for a couple both subject to immigration control, could be expected to have that effect.