[JURIST] The British government announced Monday that same-sex partners will be able to enter into civil unions starting in December. Under the Civil Partnerships Bill [text], passed last year by Parliament, same-sex couples will have the right to form legally binding partnerships and will be entitled to the same tax and pension benefits that married couples have. Starting Dec. 5, couples will be able to register for a civil partnership, which will become official after a 15-day waiting period. "This legislation is going to make a real difference to these couples and it demonstrates the government's commitment to equality and social justice," said Deputy Minister Jacqui Smith [official bio]. The Guardian has more. In a related story [JURIST report] noted earlier today on JURIST's Paper Chase, UK armed services said they would allow same-sex couples to share living quarters.