On December 5, 2005, the UK Civil Partnership Act 2004 took effect, marking the first day that same-sex couples were allowed to apply for a civil partnership ceremony. Nearly 700 couples participated in civil partnership ceremonies on December 22, 2005 after the required 15 day waiting period. Partners in civil unions were afforded most of the legal rights enjoyed by traditional marriage partners, including the same social security, inheritance, and pension benefits, next-of-kin visiting rights in all hospitals, and the right to succeed in tenancy situations. The Act has been challenged several times since its passage. In June 2006, a same-sex couple claimed the Act was discriminatory because it only accords same-sex couples who legally married overseas to have the status of a civil union, but the courts rejected the argument. Similarly, a heterosexual couple also challenged their denial of a civil partnership pursuant to the Act in November 2009.
Coat of arms of the United Kingdom