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Co-op Bank change civil partner policy after PinkNews.co.uk expose

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  1. This has been an issue with insurance companies for some time, even now many of them stick us in the “other” category.The Smile problem is interesting. Having banked with Smile since it opened and having worked for Lloyd’s TSB, I intend to stick with Smile! However, I would have expected better of them and will complain. They’re happy to advertise in the gay press so they should treat us with the respect we deserve.

  2. There’s nothing stopping people from going to the http://www.smile.co.uk webpage and sending some polite feedback. Keep it polite, keep it friendly, but make your views heard…

  3. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Oct 2007, 5:06pm

    Adrian, this only backups what I’ve been posting at this website for a very long time, Civil Partnerships are NOT about equality. We’ve opted for second class citizenship. If a bank is not obliged legally to include Civil Partnerships but to place you in the “other” category, then that tells you, your relationship is NOT equal to married straight couples. Why doesn’t everybody get this? People keep saying what does it matter if you call it marriage or not, as long as I have my rights? The point is, it DOES matter. Marriage has and always will be the gold standard, nothing else will do. We’re having the same problems here in the U.S. in the state of New Jersey, a state whose legislature mandated that same-sex couples be given all the rights of straight married couples either through marriage or civil unions. The state cowardly opted for the second rate term, civil unions. They’re not working, employers and other institutions are blatantly discriminating against civil unioned couples and are taking the same stand as their British counterparts, that they’re not legally bound to recognise civil partnerships. Its that bad that New Jersey may be compelled to upgrade these unions to full marriage recognition. The UK should do the same to stop this kind of discrimination once and for all. I don’t think I’d quite care for being called “other” with a partner I love. Its disgusting, insulting and offensive. Nobody should settle for that.

  4. Robert, ex-pat Brit 25 Oct 2007, 5:07pm

    Adrian, ooops.. typographical error in my posting, I meant to have said…”this only backs up what I’ve been posting”……sorry.

  5. I DON’T WANT TO BE ‘MARRIED’, Robert you’re like a stuck record! Do you even live in the UK?

  6. Very confused I’m afraid, on the one hand we’re hooting from the rooftops about wanting civil partnerships to actually be marriage and on the other we’re saying that we need a special box on an application to differentiate between marriage and civil partnerships.Can’t help feeling some people on here would argue with their own shadow.I am not married and I am not in a civil partnership. I “live as married” with my boyfriend, so I would tick the “living as married” box on an application. It would never enter my head to start kicking off about a special box for “living as civil partnered”.I wonder sometimes whether we all actually want equality or whether some of us just want to make a noise and be noticed.

  7. Matt of London 25 Oct 2007, 8:30pm

    When we updated the Human Resources forms at my work, some of my straight colleagues just assumed that civil partners would tick married. I pointed out the technical difference so now the option is married/civil partnership.

  8. Could you point it out to me Mike (in straightforward terms)? Other than the obvious, ones for homos the others for hetros, I have to say I’m not really aware of any differences.If you could shed some light I’d be grateful. If the gay mafia could resist the temptation to cricify me for asking a question about something I probably should know more about I’d also be grateful.

  9. In fairness to the Co-Op Bank, they are the ones who not so long ago told the vile bigots at Christian Voice that their account with the Co-Op had been closed on account of their homophobia and they could take both their business and nasty views elsewhere.People thinking of changing banks might like to remember this brave and principled move by the Co-Op and check if the bank they are thinking of moving to is the one that also welcomed these religious nutters and are therefore helping them spread their hate against you.

  10. Isn’t it amazing how some people get their knickers in a twist as to what is, really, an administrative oversight by a bank. Let’s be clear about this. Civil Partnership is Marriage in all but name. It carries the same rights and responsibilities as marriage (and I should know, as I’m in a CP with the man I love). Why not just tick “married”? Why should it be that we feel the need to define ourselves as “different” when all along the only thing that matters is equality? Why should we feel disgusted, insulted or offended because CP doesn’t exist in a drop-down box? What does that say about the psyche of the disgusted, insulted or the offended. I feel we ought to lose our collective chip on our shoulders, make our feelings know, and get on with getting a life! And of course, Ivan’s post puts all this into perspective, doesn’t it?

  11. Dominick J. Di Noto 25 Oct 2007, 10:29pm

    Robert: “Adrian, this only backups what I’ve been posting at this website for a very long time, Civil Partnerships are NOT about equality. We’ve opted for second class citizenship. If a bank is not obliged legally to include Civil Partnerships but to place you in the “other” category, then that tells you, your relationship is NOT equal to married straight couples. Why doesn’t everybody get this?”Dominick: Robert you are sounding like a broken record is right. You are not listening to anything I’ve written. The BENIFITS have to be written into a CIVIL UNION Legislation to make it work like “marriage” benifits work!Can’t you get that through your head?Civil Unions Don’t work as they stand now from the Federal Level and UNLESS it comes from the Federal level and ALL the benifits are written from the Federal level it won’t stand up. That’s what I’ve been saying BUT you still aren’t reading or comprehending what I’m writing!

  12. Civil Partnerships work in the UK. They work, simply, because the protect the interests – financial, emotional, practical – of the two people who entered into such an arrangement. Of course, presentation matters, and I believe, eventually, that “marriage” between two gay people will happen. Like most things about the struggle for gay equality, these things take time and need patience. We will get there – eventually!!

  13. Dominick J. Di Noto 25 Oct 2007, 11:08pm

    Thank you David!

  14. So, in the UK they’re both the same for all intent and purpose then.In the US it appears they are not (although its not clear to me why), which is why all the yanks on here keep banging on about the injustice of it all.Clear(er) now. Irrespective of all of this, I shall continue to live in sin as an afront to God and all that.

  15. David SCPs work in the UK only because they’re the only option. They’re obviously NOT the true equivalent to marriage as has been made out by politicians, judges etc, because they don’t bring ALL the unquestioned rights that marriage does (certain pension issues for instance). Civil Partnership is a lot better than nothing, but there’s still work to be done

  16. David SCivil Partnership ISN’T LEGALLY the same thing as marriage. To define yourself as married on certain forms when you’re CPd could invalidate the agreement etc – especially agreements for insurance where the company will always seek a way out of its commitments. You have to state that all information is true, and to say you’re married isn’t true.That’s why it has to be recorded correctly, not some faggy “Ooh it’s not fair” attitude

  17. apYrs – if a form for an insurance company didn’t have a ‘civil partnerships’ box and you ticked the ‘married’ box, an insurance company would be on a hiding to nothing being difficult about any sort of payout – unless they specifically give instructons to the contrary. Only if there was a civil partnerships box and you ticked married would there be an issue.The UK government’s guidance to departments such as DWP and HMRC is that “civil partnership is a parallel status to marriage”.Laws are there to protect us, not to harm us.Any minor differences that do still exist under law are being identified and irradicated.To use your words, it IS some faggy “Ooh it’s not fair” attitude.

  18. As someone who entered into a CP after 31 years with the same gay I abase myself at the feet of the politicians who finally got round to doing something. I am very aware of just how bad things were before hand. But the fact remains that legally we’re NOT married, and to say you are is lying. You are “other” if there’s nothing on the form to state otherwise.As far as CP being as good as marriage – why do pension arrangements differ (excluded, I believe, from the goods and services act)? And you mention govt guidelines, but these will only obtain to govt departments.I don’t give a toss about the name (though it could give some foreign regimes a pause for breath), I do mind a lot about equality, and I’m not sure we have that.

  19. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Oct 2007, 11:43am

    David, if my memory serves me well, Tony Blair confirmed publicly that civil partnerships are NOT marriages. You can have every single right of marriage in civil partnerships, but until the government says otherwise, they’re not marriages and never will be unless they are merged in the marriage causation act of 1973.Dominick, I read, speak and understand English very well, I was born here. I don’t need lectures on what constitutes a civil union or partnership as opposed to marriage. Our UK civil partnerships do include most of the rights of marriage, if not all, but as I said to David, until the government recognizes them as such, they are what they are, a second category or class of people with similar rights. They are NOT equal and if they were, they wouldn’t be called civil partnerships in the first place. Since the UK’s version of civil unions are construed by popular opinion among the gay community to be marriage-lite, the bank’s persistent refusal to include civil partnership on application forms is evidence enough that they are not equal. Since when did “marriage” become equal with “other”? The bank in question states it has no legal obligation to include civil partnerships in its application forms which implies that civil partnerships aren’t deemed equal to marriage. Its been almost two years since civil partnerhips became legal, long enough for any employer or business to make the necessary changes. You can have civil unions at the federal level, but they will NEVER be construed or recognised as marriage either. How come Canada et al, realise it and the US doesn’t? Those countries had civil unions long before anybody else had them, obviously they weren’t considered equal. Sweden too may be the next to abandon civil unions for marriage.I’m saying no more on this because its pretty obvious that equality has different meanings to different people. We will never agree on this but I respect your opinion.

  20. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Oct 2007, 11:45am

    Steve, some people think they’re equal, but they’re not. If they were, they would be called marriage, nothing less.

  21. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Oct 2007, 11:46am

    apYrs, thank you so much, at last one or two of us get it. I knew there had to be someone with logic out there.

  22. Civil Partnerships are the legal equivalent of marriage, and pension rights from either the state of private sector are no different from that of heterosexual married couples. I know this to be true, having sought legal advise, and from having communicated with my pension provider. In fact, to discriminate on this level would fall foul of the Provision of Goods and Services Act. There is only one difference between the two: a CP does not have consecration!

  23. I don’t really want to get into this again, but Robert why are you so intent on belittling the civil partnership act? I am in a civil partnership, i am delighted with it and with the rights it confers on myself and my partner, It offers me and him every single right and protection that a straight married couple have, the most important of which, my partner being an american citizen, is that he can now legally live and work in the uk and apply for indefinate leave to remain and then citizenship. You refer to yourself as an expat brit, well he’s an expat american and NOTHING repeat NOTHING would make him want to go back and live in that country which is so so BACKWARD on gay rights, that it’s more primitive than Eastern Europe in most states. The whole “MARRIAGE” issue is an absolute NON issue. I couldn’t care less whether they call it marriage, civil partnership, or any other bit of legalese. I’m not heterosexual have never wanted to be, so i don’t have the desire to ape or copy their every ritual…what i do want is the LAW to treat me and my loved ones equally, and now it does! that’s it…why quibble? When even the conservatives have stressed that their (frankly ludicrous) proposed tax breaks for married couples will also apply to civil partners, the argument on this issue is won on this side of the atlantic. To play these semantic games is ireelevent and offensive. I think you’ve spent too long in the states where proposed civil partnerships, are weak wishy washy 2nd rate rubber stamps. my partner and i looked into it, and even in the states which supposedly allow full gay marriage, i as i foreign citizen would NEVER get residency. Nothing anywhere in america is as good as we have here on this issue, so please ROB direct your energy and scorn for your adopted countries inadequancies and not the successes in your “homeland”…

  24. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Oct 2007, 4:55pm

    Someone somewhere in the little debate has summed up that there is a difference between the US and the UK in relation to civil partnerships. The consensus of opinion from the UK side is I think that we are quite happy with our ‘marriage by another name’.What is important are the rights and status that the union, whether hetrosexual or homosexual, confer. The point has been made again and again that in the UK they are the same.I have made the point before that I don’t have a problem with, and actually quite like, that we have our own little word for the lifetime commitment that we make to each other.Andy again I think made the point about not apeing our straight counterparts. I couldn’t agree more.

  25. David Sif what yoiu say is true, perhaps you can tell me why MY pension provider (the govt) has seen fit to discount 12 years of my survivor contributions because I’m in a gay partnership rather than a heterosexual one? HM Treasury whittered something about it being when they could backdate the scheme to (maybe because that was the date from which women had to contribute), but it still leaves my partner, if he survives me, short. If I MARRIED someon e tomorrow they’d be entitled to the full benefit.This isn’t equality.

  26. apYrs its unlikely that anyone can without knowing the detail of the case.If you feel you have been genuinely discriminated against, your best bet would be to seek help and an explantion from a solicitor rather than from the people reading this website.If you’re not able to afford a solicitor, directory enquiries should be able to give details of your local Law Centre that can provide free legal advice.I’m sure if its as simple as you are suggesting you would have a case, because as has been made clear during this debate you are entitled to equal status to a hetrosexual married couple. Although in reality seldom are these situations as simply as they may at first appear.

  27. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Oct 2007, 7:07pm

    David, Andy, according to apYrs, there are a few rights not conferred in civil partnerships that are inherent in marriage. Read his or her response.

  28. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Oct 2007, 7:20pm

    apYrs, thank you for stating that about your situation with your pension. Maybe David and others can offer an explanation, assuming they have ALL the rights of marriage?Sister Mary, with respect, CPs are NOT marriages, not until they are legislated as such and enshrined in the marriage causation act of 1973. You’re still separate, but equal or maybe unequal. If they are equal and offer all of the rights of marriage, then why can’t civil partnered couples put a tick in the marriage box of any application form if civil partnership isn’t an option? As someone else said, to do so would be misrepresenting the truth and probably subject to denial or prosecution or both. Simple as that.

  29. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Oct 2007, 8:47pm

    Robert, we none of us know the exact details of apYrs situation, so I think its probably prudent not to jump in with both feet screaming “I was right, I was right!” just yet.You say that civil partnerships are not marriages until they are enshrined in the Marriage Causation Act, 1973. So, I take it we are not equal unless we have that in your view. This all boils down to whether we want to carbon copies of straight people again, doesn’t it? And it appears you do. We have the Civil Partnerships Act 2004. Is there some site somewhere else where a bunch of heterosexuals are banging on about gay people getting preferential treatment because they cannot enter into a civil partnership. I suspect not.For most of us (and the point has already been made) IN THE UK, we’re quite happy with civil partnerships. It you have registered a civil union or a same sex marriage elsewhere in the world, it is automatically recognised here. You are accorded the same inheritance rights, welfare rights, benefits rights and probably all manner of other rights that are accorded to a heterosexual married couple.I am not straight and I don’t want to be straight. I don’t want to copy everything that straight people do. I have many things in common with straight people but there are things about me that are different. I am not ashamed of being gay and I am not ashamed of being that little bit different to straight people. I am not interested in things that smooth over the differences and make me appear more like them.When I a kid I used to stand in a room full of people worried that people might think I was gay, different or inferior. I’m older now, with more self-esteem and confidence. I could stand in that same room today quite happy for people to look at me and not think, but actually know that I am gay, content in the knowledge that I am at least as good as every person in there.If there are words and language used to describe me and my life that also tell people that I am gay then that is absolutely fine, the more the better. Having a different word for the union between a man and a man and a woman and a woman is a positive thing if you let it be. Civil partnership is not a derogatory term, if anything it is a positive one. Many more people today are away that gay people actually have long term relationships as a result of the introduction of the term, many more than would have done had we started sharing the word marriage with straight people.My concern is equality not mimicry.There may be issues with civil partnerships in the States. Despite the best attempts of Tony Blair we are not yet the 53rd state. Expend you energies on trying to sort the mess out over there rather than haranguing us for being happy with what we’ve got.

  30. And I echo the last post. May I also add that Marriage is an ancient religious construct, designed to control sexual drives and for the purpose of procreation. That is why, in law, marriage can only be validated by procreation. Civil partnership status was created as a reflection of our modern understanding about relationships. Yes, in a way, we are talking about difference and removing our differences by using the narrative of the religious is not, in my opinion, equality. I agree totally with Sister MC on this one. I do feel banks should include CP on drop down lists, but also feel that, if they don’t, there are more important fish to fry!!!

  31. In my last post, I said “….validated by procreation.”I should have said “… validated by consumation.”

  32. Sorry to disagree a bit, but in the elite marriage was about power, property, alliances, and a degree of ownership.Marriage for procreation was the church’s way of controlling fornication

  33. and just to make clear: my disgreements with David S’s take is on the margins. The term ISN’T important, its meaning it. Equality is the issue not labels.

  34. Sister MCthere are straights who want CP, because they don’t want the label “marriage” with all it brings (including patriarchal connotations)

  35. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Oct 2007, 11:57pm

    apYrs – good well we’re one up on them then, and if we’ve got the upper hand, we’d better shut up or someone will realise and take it away from us.Picking up David’s point about my pet hate – religion. There are no religious connections or overtones around the concept of civil partnerships which is itself a vote winner for me.

  36. Dominick J. Di Noto 27 Oct 2007, 5:31am

    Actually there is no religious overtones to marriage either. Some people may think so, but just because you say you got “Married” doesn’t necessarily mean you did the “church” thing. You can be married by the Justice of the Peace, or just a judge.Another reality is, when you purchase that document called a Marriage License, at City Hall, you are automatically registerd as Married.Ok, now you do realize I’m talking about here in the States.So if we do get Civil Unions here or what ever it may be called, If you desire to have it blessed, you can have it done by a religious organization that is Open and Affirming and get married. Now, just to let you know my partner and I got “married” by the church without getting a license. We had a “Commitment Ceremony.” Up to then we had already been together 16 years and this Dec. we will be celebrating 18 years.

  37. Robert, ex-pat Brit 27 Oct 2007, 1:28pm

    Sister Mary, if civil partnerships are equal to marriage, why can’t straight couples enter into one if they don’t want to “marry” just as they do in New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia? You call that equality? Who gives a damn if civil unions are recognised in the UK from elsewhere? Legal marriage between gay couples performed in either Holland, Belgium, Spain, South Africa and Canada are not, they are downgraded to civil partnerships once you return to the UK, so don’t tell me civil partnerships are equal, they’re not? If any British gay civil partnered couple ended up having to relocate because of a job transfer overseas, you’d see how many countries recognise civil partnerships, no portability whatsoever and you would not be accorded any of the rights of such partnerships either. Don’t be so insular!At least the U.S. went a lot further than the U.K. by permitting marriage in one state that had the guts and the integrity to go so far. I have a right to my opinions on this website. Let me further remind you, I was born in the UK, and I still have a residence there, a business and pay taxes accordingly, stop lecturing me on the shortcomings of the U.S. and don’t be so smug thinking you have all of your equality, you don’t.

  38. Robert, ex-pat Brit 27 Oct 2007, 1:31pm

    David, if you say marriage is about procreation, then what do you say to straight couples who can’t have children because of medical conditions or marry and elect not to have them? What about straight couples who choose not to marry but bring forth children? Consummation of a marriage means having sexual intercourse, not having children.

  39. The HM Governement leaflet published in 2005 stated vey clearly that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 gave legal recognition to same-sex couples and when entered into was legally binding. The Stonewall booklet distributed in gay places in the same year (and in which Stonewall stated that it was hugely grateful to Barclays for its support !) stated ‘You get every right – and every responsibility – straight couples get when they marry’ Not entirely true of course but times were changing and real progress had been made. ‘Marriage’ and for that matter ‘Divorced’ also has legal recognition. But ‘Other’ ‘co-habiting’ ‘living together’ although included in drop down menus for banks and high street stores carry no legal status whatsoever. When challenged about this some institutions notably Egg, the Halifax, Smile M S prevaricated stating that they would look into it. M S capitulated earlier in the year but when the others were recently reminded by my partner and others in a CP that they had had 2 years to look into it these institutions eventually changed course and stated that they had no plans to include ‘Civil Partnership’ in drop down menus. Only a few days ago my partner received an email to this effect ! But now that this issue is coming to a head and they are in danger of bad press in national newspapers as well as the gay press and being seen to discriminate against gay couples for no good reason whatsover other than prejudice or sheer cussedness SURPRISE SURPRISE yes you guessed it the latest news is they are caving in. It was not an oversight as someone suggested but a downright refusal to recognise the legal status of civil partnership (in other words discriminate) because they thought they could get away with it | And by the way it really doesn’t help when the wishee washees in our midst suggest some of us always have something to complain about. These people are quite happy to reap benefits when they eventually arrive such as equal age of consent, greater police co-operation etc. So do us a favour if you have nothing positive to say at least keep quiet !

  40. Robert, ex-pat Brit 27 Oct 2007, 2:51pm

    Ian, thank you, thank you, thank you, for the information, more than any others have provided. Why are these institutions allowed to get away with it though and nobody in the government is going after them? It definitely IS about discrimination as you correctly stated.

  41. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Oct 2007, 6:37pm

    Ian you say that “It was not an oversight as someone suggested but a downright refusal to recognise the legal status of civil partnership (in other words discriminate) because they thought they could get away with it”. You’re right, they couldn’t because THE LAW does not permit them to.Thank you, I think you’ve made my (and a number of other people’s) point. Service providers are required to afford us the same status.Legislation on civil partnerships is new, it is to be expected that there will be some teething problems, but as shown in Ian’s case, right will ultimately succeed.Robert – another example of you putting a completely negative slant on something. You would have us be a downtrodden underclass til our dying days.Oh, and Ian, haven’t you turned things on their head a little “…. do us a favour if you have nothing positive to say at least keep quiet !” Aren’t you the one whose on here bleating about no drop down menus and being discriminated against …. until of course the company realised that it wasn’t lawful and stopped immediately”

  42. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Oct 2007, 7:13pm

    Forgot to mention it, Robert, but I do not for even a second believe that you live in the UK at any time. You might keep a British passport so you can sail through Immigration at Heathrow a bit quicker, but repeatedly you have shown that you haven’t got a clue about Britain today, which suggests to me that you spend no time, or almost no time here at all. Couple this with the fact that your posting timing suggest you are in a different time zone and your profile “Robert, Ex-pat USA” suggests you live in the US, not to mention postings you have made elsewhere referring to “your senator” and it all builds a picture of someone that is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.The point has been made time and time again that you are like a stuck record over civil partnerships. Ifs its so bad, normally I’d suggest that you move to your beloved, can-do-no-wrong States, but hey, you already have, haven’t you …. sad, mate, very sad.

  43. Bill Perdue 27 Oct 2007, 8:06pm

    From jurisdictions as distant as California, New Jersey and Vermont in the US and Sweden in the EU the question of civil unions is being revisited by governments who’ve become aware of the disparities and discrimination inherent in civil unions vs. marriage, whether sanctioned by state or cult.VERMONT “(Montpelier, Vermont) A state commission examining whether Vermont should make the move from civil unions to marriage held its first hearing Thursday.” SWEDEN “(Stockholm) Legalized same-sex marriage moved closer in Sweden on Friday when the country’s three opposition parties introduced a marriage equalization bill.Sweden already has civil partnerships…”NEW JERSEY “(New Brunswick, New Jersey) A commission created by lawmakers to examine the effectiveness of New Jersey’s civil union law has been told that it is a sham leaving same-sex couples and their children with virtually no protections.” CALIFORNIA passed a civil partnership law in 2000. Since then the mayor of San Francisco attempted a gay friendly coup d’état by marrying GLBT couples in city ceremonies. Then the State Legislature twice passed marriage laws which were both vetoed by Der Gubernator. Der Gubernator once earned an honest living posing in tattered jock straps but now whores for the conservative and the very rich. When Massachusetts, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, South Africa and Spain leapfrogged over the civil union question by approving full and real samesex marriage they set the stage for a global battle for full marriage equality. The demand for marriage equality is catching on everywhere and has the same opponents everywhere: superstitious cults and political conservatives and reactionaries. .

  44. Sister Mary Clarence 27 Oct 2007, 8:54pm

    Well can I suggest all you folks that don’t like it go and live in Massachusetts, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, South Africa or Spain, rather than spending your days running down the UK.Most of the people running down our system don’t even live here. Slightest criticism of the US though and they’re all up in arms.We are NOT brothers in a common struggle. We have already struggled and we have won equality. Equality that is laid down in law and as we have heard from a number of people posting, that these laws have been used to good effect.From time to time we suffer descrimination because others are not aware of the protections we are afforded by law. It this does happened we are now empowered to do something about it. Our fight now is to ensure that people do understand the law as it applies to us in relation to equality.It is quite clear that the same cannot be said for the US, where equality appears to be faltering under pressure from Christian fundamentalists.If the standard of debate of the entire US gay community is as that exhibited by the small but vocal minority of overact Americas contributors to this website, then it is little wonder. Perhaps a few of the more rational, level-headed Americans that I know do exist could take over as mouthpieces for the gay community, and could present reasoned arguments to further gay equality that others in the US would be prepared to listen to.A long time ago this thread was about a form not having an option for civil partnership. Again it is another one that has been hijacked by Anarchists R Us (US Chapter).

  45. Bill Perdue 27 Oct 2007, 11:04pm

    Mother Superiors got it wrong as usual. And as usual he tries to deflect the discussion by tossing a slop pail of venom, dishonesty and innuendo on it. No 1: “Well can I suggest all you folks that don’t like it go and live in Massachusetts, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, South Africa or Spain, rather than spending your days running down the UK.” No you may not. We were applauding the victories of GLBT folks in those countries and criticizing the politics and antics of religious bigots and their political cousins who oppose marriage equality. I missed the part where we had an anarchist fest and called for air strikes on London. Mother Superior, ever the paytriot, has to resort to wrapping himself in a Union Jack and trying to jump start the War for Independence. That is, as they say, the first resort of scoundrels. It certainly was a favorite trick of Thatcher and Bush has been known to use it on occasion. No 2: ‘Slightest criticism of the US though and they’re all up in arms.”Did I miss something, I thought it was 2007, not 1776 or 1812. Has war been declared? Is someone defending bigotry? The oil war? Who’s waving the Stars and Stripes and poking you in the eye? Who’s mocking your country? Who? I know many of us DO criticize the reactionary politics and demeaning vitriol of your cranky conservative cabal but, like the politically correct little anarchists we are, we do it irrespective of your nationality, gender or color. We’re equal opportunity conservative critics. We criticize conservatives no matter what flag they hide behind. We wouldn’t have it any other way.No.3: “We are NOT brothers in a common struggle.” You betcha! You’re not because your politics are informed by your class and caste privileges. The rest of us ARE brothers and sisters. We can disagree without pulling out the long knives. No 4; Mother Superior snuck in a suggestion that ExPat Robert claims to live in England. Does he? Mother Superior you really ought to try controlling your kneejerk compulsion to engage in character assassination. Ask you doctor for some doggie downers. Chihuahua size. Why do you think he identifies himself as expat? Is that a hint or what? Are you confused about what that means. Ask you doctor for some anti-senescence pills. Mastiff size. No. 5: “A long time ago this thread was about a form not having an option for civil partnership. Again it is another one that has been hijacked by Anarchists R Us (US Chapter).” These dialogs will never go his way because conservatives are becoming increasing isolated in the movement as the logic of their politics drives them further to the right. Every time Mother Superior injects those trademark toxic personal attacks, flag waving insularity, or conservative apologias people on BOTH sides of the Atlantic are going to shoot them down. He might as well invest in some parachutes and get used to it.

  46. How I loathe the likes of people like Sister Mary Clarence and co, they belongs to what I call the ‘professional gay’ you know the type, no partner, exists on one night stands and spends his waking life constantly looking in the mirror, cruising, and on the pull. Then wakes up one morning and realises he’s too old and ugly to ever settle down with someone who loves him. They exist on a diet of take away food and debt, a scandalous slur on the gay community. it’s scum like them who have never been in a stable relationship who don’t appreciate the significance of being in a Civil Partnership. We have fought long and hard for this recognition and will not allow the high street institutions to deny us our proper legal status. Why should these money grasping establishments fob us off with lame excuses that they intend to change things sometime but don’t know when, yet still continue to accept our buiness and money. How hyprcitical is that? Sounds rather like the Catholic Church!! After all they have only had nearly two years to implement this change. I would urge anyone in a Civil Partnership to examine the documents of any establishment to which they belong to see that they have the correct legal recognition to which they are entitled, and if they don’t, do as we did and leave, and do business with companies that afford us our proper LEGAL status. I suppose those who worship at the cess pit of Sister Mary Clarence will not have a clue what I am on about , but there again they are the ones who couldn’t give a toss about anything anyway.We are entitled to the recognition of CIVIL PARTNERSHIP, and not to be put into a box saying ‘other’ or ‘unknown’. It’s interesting that since this came to light, how the mighty establishments are caving in, with Egg captitulating and now offering the choice of Civil Partnership yet only 2 days ago saying they had no intention of offering this option. How long before Egg banking and the Halifax bank cave in too? Come on guys in Civil Partnership, get off your backsides and examine the documents of all those with whom you do business to see if they are discriminating against you. Ditch them if they are, hit them where it hurts most – loss of revenue and worst of all give them the bad publicity they so rightly deserve.Keep up the fight brothers and sisters.

  47. Sister Mary Clarence 28 Oct 2007, 9:55am

    Bill, rave all you live, along with your new pal John, who I suspect from the language being used is another on of your Anarchists R Us (US Chapter).Story after story you all slate us and tell us how we should live, what we should do, how we are wrong to live the way we do, how we are weak to accept what we do.Your own country is rife with inequality, with racism, homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance and yet you relentlessly peddled the view on here that we should follow your doctrine. Can’t resist that little bit of globalisation can you?You preach nothing but hatred and intolerance. You continually remind us that we are a down-trodden underclass, when clearly we are not and massive steps have been made towards equality and the newest EU Treaty will include a raft more. Your world view, like that of your president is warped. The list of countries and regimes that you condemn is unending. Is it conceivable just for a second that it may be your take on things that is slightly distorted, that you are wrong? Your media is world renowned for simplifying, sanitising and distorting news – could it be that the feeds you are getting are inaccurate? Maybe its garbage in, as well as garbage out, because it is without doubt garbage out.Here at least the time for extremist is gone, our community has a dialogue and a working relationship. We are enjoying a steady stream of legislation that brings full equality closer by the day. Retrograde ideologies being peddled by a few on here are bankrupt and will take us backwards not forwards.Thank you very much for all the opinions and advice offered, but it are not, in equal measure, wanted, needed or welcome.

  48. I fully agree with SMC – sick of certain people with a holier than though attitude towards those of us living in Britain.If people are able to give constructive and helpful pointers then I’m sure we’d all quite happily listen, but they comments are neither.As SMC says it is time to build on what we have achieved and not to trash it and start at f**king war.As I have previously posted, if there isn’t a civil partnerships box and no instructions to the contrary, use the married box.

  49. What knob head Steve fails to realise, or even care about is that anyone in a CIVIL PARTNERSHIP is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT MARRIED. Civil partnership is a LEGAL ACT OF PARLIAMENT so why should those of us lucky enough to enjoy this legal protection have to put up with ticking the married box or any other box for that matter? We should have a Civil Partnership option for any administrative purposes. This facility is now on all legal documents, passports etc so why should certain companies like the Halifax bank, Egg bank etc be allowed to blatently discriminate agaisnt us? I bet poor misguided knob head Steve, and the drag queen nun are not in a Civil Partnership, and with an attitude like theirs I’m not surprised.

  50. Hubba hubba! I totally echo Steve’s comments. Although I am sure Sister MC can defend himself, I have found him to be the most intelligent, articulate contributor to these debates. I am grateful to him for his clarity and common sense.What we see now in the UK is an amazing diversity that makes these beautiful islands a fascinating place to live. As a gay man, I now have the backing of legislation to demand that I am treated fairly and with respect.What disappoints me most in this debate is the way that opinion has been presented as fact and the lack of understanding of the issues that really matter. Why did smile.co.uk not include CPs on their drop down list? None of us really know the answer to that one, even though some here appear to have an opinion and dress it up as the truth! My opinion? Well, I suspect it was good old-fashioned laziness and ineptitude. But I can’t prove that, so it’s only an opinion!!

  51. Back to the original topic, I think…I’m in a Civil Partnership and wouldn’t have it any other way, I don’t want to be ‘married’, I want something that is special to me as a gay man. Civil Partnerships fit the bill for me and if those in other Countries are jealous, then they should look to their own government’s records on gay rights / human rights.As for the Co-Op, don’t forget that they are the bank that ditched Christian Voice as a client because of their homophobic stance. How many other banks would have done the same? I would also like to say that they have always treated myself and my partner with great respect.I can’t understand why they have been singled out, there are hundreds of Insurance companies out there who don’t include a “Civil Partner” option and who have inferior ideals to Co-Op. In general, Co-Op have always been very supportive of the gay community yet they’ve been given a hammering for an administrative issue. Lloyd’s may have been quicker to re-print, but they don’t care about wasting paper. Co-Op is one of the few banks who sticks to ethical investments, which isn’t easy in today’s world, other banks will invest in pretty dreadful areas to increase their profit. So, a bank may re-print without giving a second thought to how much it will cost (both financially and environmentally), but they may not be too choosy about how they recover that cost.Just for the record, I have no connection with the Co-Op other than being a satisfied customer of many years.

  52. Robert, ex-pat Brit 28 Oct 2007, 2:07pm

    Bill, thanks for your comments. I don’t give a damn what people think of me on this site. I WAS born in the UK in a town called, Folkestone, Kent and came to the U.S. at the age of 28. I was sent on a job relocation by my company at the time. I’ve been commuting back and forth between the US and the UK ever since, I also own a small business in the UK and have a residence there in South Kensington, London. I am also subject to UK taxes, probably more than Sr. Mary and others and have created jobs for fellow Brits. If anyone here doesn’t believe me, that’s their problem. It seems to me that you can’t be an ex-pat Brit living overseas and have any right to criticise policies that are being accepted by what I thought were my fellow brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community. Obviously I was mistaken. Living overseas, I can be more objective than those who don’t, please or offend. I voice my opinions because I know the UK can do a lot better than it already has, and there is a lot more to do. From my perspective, it seems that the UK LGBTQ community has lulled itself into a false sense of security, but that’s their right, I personally do not agree with it having been on both sides of the pond.The US isn’t perfect and I’m the first one to criticise if I think something is wrong. That’s what democracy is all about, freedom of expression. Why would anyone want to be treated differently than the rest of society anyway? Why would anyone want to be isolated into another inferior class of citizenship is beyond me? Why would anyone want to be treated as separate but equal? The class system in the UK that we are renowned for is bad enough, why add yet another? We should be striving for a classless society, a society that enables its people to become whatever they want, not based on social background, which school one’s father attended, one’s accent, wealth, pedigree or political affiliation. I’m sorry, that to me has nothing to do with equality.

  53. Sister Mary Clarence 28 Oct 2007, 4:57pm

    Thank you for the support David, I think I have referred earlier to some of the sense you’ve been talking. You’re point regarding lack of understanding is absolutely right, and from some quarters I don’t think its an inability to understand, but an unwillingness to understand.A siege mentality is very good it you are under siege, but we’re not. Equality for all sections of our country has come on in leaps and bounds since I was young (oops – younger). When laws change it does sometime stake society a while to become aware of it and conform – it is only natural (cast you mind back to the problems your granny had when new money came in for example). As a community we need to be big enough to accept that there will from time to time be problems that need to be ironed out as ultimately they will be.I’m with you on the reasons Smile didn’t have a drop down box for civil partnerships. To me it might be better if they changed their existing marriage text to read marriage/civil partnerships, to emphasise that they have equal status rather than separate options which would imply differences. I suspect that whoever instructed that the ‘other’ box was filled in didn’t know what they were talking about – I’m sure we can all recall instances where we’ve been told a load of shite by our own banks, its not an uncommon occurrence (apologies if you work in a bank, except if you work at Alliance Leicester, in which case you should be apologising to me).Andy has made a good point that we should sometimes look at the bigger picture (I’m sure I’ll get hounded for using that phrase). The bank does have a good track record in supporting equality. The fact that they are sorting this problem out suggests that they are keen to maintain that good reputation. Again I suspect when someone suitably high up the tree found out about the issue instructions were issues that it should be dealt with.It is beyond me why a few individuals are hell bend on trying to convince everyone that we have got a bad deal with civil partnerships. I can’t for the life of me understand why.And Bill, loathed as I am to engage with you in any way whatsoever, can I just say its unlikely that anyone on this site is interested in the amount of tax you either pay or avoid in this country. I certainly don’t think it is the forum to discuss my tax liabilities, my gas bill for the last quarter or anything else about my personal finances. This forum is open to everyone, anyone can comment – it all comes back to that little word again – equality. Your postings may however be more relevant if you were a little more familiar with British society today, and however many times to protest otherwise, your experiences are dated.And saving the last for Maverick – I’ll respond to you posting before it is removed by the editor. Civil partnerships are not marriage, but they afford us the same status and benefits as marriage, but they are a ‘special’ thing that has been devised especially for us. It says that two gay people have committed to a lifelong union. It says that they are not ashamed to be recognised by society as being either gay or committed to each other. Had we had to share the word marriage with heterosexual couples the recognition that a couple was gay, as well as committed, could be lost on many. It represents enormous progress from where our society was ten or twenty years ago.Companies who do not have facilities to cater for civil partnerships will change through social, and sometime legal, pressure because our society has move so far down the road to full equality. Celebrate it rather than complain about it, there are many other people around the world with much less.

  54. Dominick J. Di Noto 28 Oct 2007, 6:32pm

    Sister Mary Clarence, I like what you’ve said. You do make a lot of sense. AND yes even though some people don’t like Civil Unions, for whatever reasons, I’d be for it here in the United States, at our Federal level, if we received all of the benefits that heteros get from their “marriage” license. I’m not going to quibble about the wording, it’s the benefits I want and need to be the same. Something like”Civil Union license(equals)Marriage Benefits” would be fine, for me. I’m sure it would pass EQCA, ACLU, GLADD, HRC, and what ever other Gay organization there is here in the States.So if “marriage” is what some one wants to tie the knot with then Any OA church would gladly marry any couple.They would receive that certificate from the church and the Pastor. And Robert, ex-pat Brit, I appreciate hearing from you and your input, but I honestly think you do see things from a pessimistic view point. We have come so far in the last 50 years here in the States I have to have a bit more optimism rather then the other. We need to elect more Progressive leaders to govenment at both the local levels and Federal level.And lastly what a good ole fashioned “Bitch Fight” this subject has brought us to. It shows us how much work we have to do to unite our community rather than divide it. And yes to be civil to one another, even if our viewpoints differ.

  55. TESCO only have Spouse/Partner/Other as the options for their insurance products and so do Privilege (Royal Bank of Scotland). Which option is correct? They reject two spouses of the same gender, so we’re either Partner or Other.very few companies have got this right, test it out for yourselves on insurance quote sites, don’t single Smile and CoOp out, they’re one of the better organisations when it comes to looking after gay folk.

  56. Tim Chapman 28 Oct 2007, 7:24pm

    I’d like to see a list of all organisations that fail to provide a civil partnership option on their application forms. I’ve come accross it so many times, it’s not true – car insurance forms and credit card applications are the worst offenders – and I always complain. Some respond positively, most do not. It’s time to name and shame the latter.

  57. Dominick J. Di Noto 28 Oct 2007, 8:22pm

    I suppose what is happening there with banks and ins. companies etc., etc. will happen here in the States, is what would happen even if marriage or civil unions were accepted across the board. Many churches still would refuse to marry folks of the same sex and companies can still discriminate. So you find the ones that don’t discriminate and let all your friends and relitves know about it.The only people who I find Can NOT discriminate are Doctors or anyone in the health profession and that includes hospitals. Doctors have taken an oath, which should Make them take care of any body no matter where they stand on any issue.

  58. Sister MC said: “It is beyond me why a few individuals are hell bend on trying to convince everyone that we have got a bad deal with civil partnerships. I can’t for the life of me understand why.”If we consider that m’Lord Tebbit was willing to support a CP bill extended to all other co-habiting people, then perhaps it can be better seen as a partnership that falls outside of what the heterosexual world calls “marriage”. It is different from marriage (afterall if it is equivalent to marriage why not call it so?), and since they wouldn’t give us anything better than they already have, it can be either as only as good as, or worse than “marriage”.I’ve made it clear, I don’t care about the name but the content; we may be happy that since it meets all the criteria of marriage it is. However, it can’t be called marriage, and therefore it can be marginalised by some people/organisations for as long as they can spin it out. It may not be homophobia, merely penny-pinching, or the view that we should be grateful for what we have, but the result is the same.And I won’t take any lectures on the politics of equality here: I’ve lived too long to take everything at face value

  59. Sister Mary Clarence 29 Oct 2007, 10:23am

    apYrs, I think the point is I don’t really want it called marriage. I want it call something different so that whenever it is used, people must confront and accept that issue that gay people do exist and that just like straight people we do commit to lifelong relationships.Parents will have to explain it to their kids, it will help break down the myth of us all being promiscuous drug taking party animals, and it will lay to bed the believe that we are bitter, self-loathing loners on the outskirts of society. It is like a great big free advert for a positive gay lifestyle.A marriage is the union of a man and a man, a civil partnership is the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman. In that respect only they are different.I don’t want to be fitted into the term marriage. If I and my boyfriend do decide to enter into a legally recognised partnership I want the world to know he is my boyfriend and not leave to door open for people to construe that he’s a she.I take your point about people attempting to marginal us, but government projections for the take up of civil partnerships according to the regulatory impact assessment (RIA) showed by 2011 a lover threshold of 10000 and a higher threshold of 20000. In 2007 we have now surpassed that upper threshold. Data shows that the numbers peaked in the first quarter of 2006 and have slowly fallen since then. The latest figures available from the National Statistics Office showed just over 2300 tied the knot in the last quarter of the year. Statistics available so far do not show a stabilisation yet, and seasonal trends may well follow that of marriages, so we will need to see more data before we can get a better idea of this. However what is self evident is that many more people than the government ever imagined are taking up civil partnerships. Even at 2300 per quarter it is a best 6 times the governments estimates and at worst 3 times the governments estimates.The upshot of this is a cost to government far higher than anticipated – potentially well over £500m. I would expect that the government is going to have to plunder us all further for taxes to pay for it and I’m sure those seeking to marginalise us are going to find it all the harder, when they find out why.

  60. There’s a huge advert on this site for Esure.I have just clicked it and gone into their option to get a car quote…guess what…”Married, Single, Living Together, Widowed, Divorced”So it’s okay to advertise Esure/Halifax/Bank of Scotland whilst singling out Smile for a public slagging off. Pink News have known for months that Halifax do this!Typical, it’s the Conservative Party advert all over again. Sod the priciple when there’s money involved.

  61. Well I’ve just checked the Conservative Party application form and it doesn’t mention anything about marital status at all, so probably not appropriate to be tarring them with the same brush just now.Checked Labour as well and they don’t mention it either.

  62. I think Jim meant that Pink carried an advert for the homophobic tory party recently, nothing to do with their application form. They seem to carry an advert for anyone with the money to pay for it. Now – despite knowing that HBOS have a bad application form, they carry adverts for Esure but have a go at Smile.

  63. Oops! And there’s another! A whopping great advert on here for Prudential car insurance. They only have spouse, partner or other as options.Double standards.

  64. Budget Insurance are advertising on here. Their options are Married, Single, Partnered/Cohabiting, Divorced, Separated, Widowed. Why don’t you run an article about them and all the others you allow to advertise on here.

  65. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Oct 2007, 1:28pm

    apYrs, thank you so much for your comments regading cp’s. You, like me, see the larger picture. As you correctly state, if these are equal to marriage, then why not call them that and why aren’t we asking the government to recognise them as such? Being separate, apart from the majority of society is not about equality, never has been, never will be. EVERYBODY should have the same rights in a democracy, after all, we live in a class-ridden society as it is and we’re renowned for that, so why make it worse by setting us apart from everybody else? It divides, doesn’t unite.

  66. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Oct 2007, 1:32pm

    Jim, I think we’d have to settle for “living together”, since our partnerships are not recognised by certain institutions. One has to be naive to even think that it was an oversight or they haven’t had time to include the civil partnership option. Almost two years, and still nothing done? Please! So much for equality!

  67. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Oct 2007, 1:42pm

    Bob, at least Prudential indicates “partner”, so I suppose we’d have to settle for that one, definitely better than “other” and be grateful that we have been given some semblance of recognition. I suppose that’s what equality means to most. After all, almost everyone is in agreement that we have all of our rights and we definitely don’t need marriage either. Maybe the government should abolish marriage and open civil partnerships to everyone, then we’d be equal if its synonymous with marriage as everybody says it is.

  68. Sitster Mary Clarence 29 Oct 2007, 1:59pm

    What it boils down to is do you want to be equal or do you want to be the same.I am squarely in the wanting to be equal camp, and most definitely not in the wanting to be the same camp.

  69. One reason to single out Smile and the Co-op Bank is that they make such a big deal of their “ethical” stance. Overlooking legislation for two years is one thing, having to be shamed into – grudgingly – changing the wording – and then using the “environment” as a reason to keep using the old forms is another altogether.I’ve banked with the Co-op in one way or another for nearly 30 years. I won’t be changing either, but I’ve let them and Smile know exactly what I think.

  70. What a can of worms we have opened here, but I think a big gold star, and a full kiss on the lips to the guy who kicked it all off is in order don’t you?. As a public relations exercise I think every self respecting gay man or woman, because I notice the women are keeping a low profile through all of this, is to just check out at least one of the organisations with whom they do business and have a big name and shame show. I have already closed two accounts and transferred them to companies who do recognise I have a Civil Partner. If we’re good enough for them to take our money the least they can do is afford us our CORRECT LEGAL STATUS and not put us in the ‘other’ or ‘unknown’ box which is a bit like being on the miscellaneous table at the local jumble sale! A great many folk fought for this recognition so stand up, be proud and be as awkward as you can with anyone who will not recognise your status. Write, phone , email and make it known that unless they provide you with your correct Civil Partnership status you will take your money elsewhere, look at how some of the big names have already capitulated on this issue.don’t let the b******s win – United we stand!!Maverick

  71. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Oct 2007, 4:21pm

    So, am I to assume that most people in civil partnerships would NOT marry if that were an option? What if Blair had legislated for full marriage equality instead of civil partnerships? Would that mean that none of you would ever marry because you’re mostly against marriage and wouldn’t want to be the same as your straight counterparts? Would you then demand that the government legislate for a different category of some semblance of equality instead of marriage?

  72. Dominick J. Di Noto 29 Oct 2007, 4:31pm

    The Co-operative Bank have announced it will change it’s form. Well one down, more to come later.

  73. Sitster Mary Clarence 29 Oct 2007, 4:55pm

    Robert, I think the point has been made more times than should be necessary, Blair has legislated for full marriage equality. Your what ifs are completely pointless. We have something that many of us are happy with and that is the end to it.The point has been made that civil partnerships can be noted under the marriage box if there is no separate box provided. Many companies list the two under the same option anyway. Legally they are exactly the same.Again it has been noted that it is probably just laziness if the box has not been added. As long as there is a ‘married’ option there is provision for you to code the correct status (well aware that this is abhorrent to some people). Obviously if this is the case then staff do need to be able to signpost customers to the correct option and if they are signposting people to something else, there would appear to be a training issue.Jesus, its like groundhog day on here sometimes ….

  74. I’m in a Civil Partnership and would certainly NOT want it changing to a “marriage”. 100% – No doubt – end of story. I don’t want to be married. I don’t want a gay wedding. I wanted a Civil Partnership and I got one. I’ve been with the same partner for over 20 years and now we have the legal recognition that we wanted. It’s different to what straight people have – I’m happy with that.If I wasn’t happy with the concept, I wouldn’t have done it.one thing I am getting sick of is the non-stop waffle from the trans-Atlantic direction. If you don’t live here, kindly mind your own business.

  75. Just to correct Sister MC on a technical matter: Unfortunately, ticking the “married” box doesn’t always work, some companies reject Mr and Mr if you tick married. Their systems think it’s an error.

  76. This issue needs addressing in a more rounded way. I have no idea why Pink News have chosen to single out Smile, when many other organisations are far worse – perhaps it’s because those other organisations pay Pink News to advertise on this site.Still, all organisations need to put this right.Incidentally, all Smile paperwork, cheque books etc are printed on re-cycled paper. None of the other banks do that! So it’s not an excuse.So, Pink News, I’ll set you a challenge. If you really care about this, get Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Tesco, Privilege, Esure and all the other companies who advertise on this site to give us their excuses. I won’t hold my breath.

  77. Sitster Mary Clarence 29 Oct 2007, 5:45pm

    At last, Drew – now that is something to complain about!

  78. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Oct 2007, 5:48pm

    Drew, I was born and raised in the UK. Last time I checked, I still have a British biometric passport. I also maintain a residence and a business and pay taxes,employ people and probably far more taxes than you do. So telling me and others from the US that we can’t comment if something is not to your liking is typical of the narrowminded, insular attitude that you and others display. You don’t like hearing the truth, that’s for sure because its not to your liking.

  79. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Oct 2007, 5:53pm

    Sister Mary, Blair has NOT legislated for marriage equality. If he had, you wouldn’t have civil partnerships in the first place. They are NOT marriages just because they have most of the rights of marriage and Blair as you well know it has categorically stated that they are indeed not marriages or recognised as marriages but legally binding contractual partnerships just like any other contract, nothing more. Let all civil partnershipped couples tick the married box in the absence of an civil partnership option on any application and see what happens.

  80. Robert its been said before that we probably don’t have too much trouble with hearing the truth, the problem is the crap that a small minority comes out with.I’m with SMC – I want to be equal I don’t want to be the same.Again it say been said before that we are in changing times, if everything isn’t perfect from day one we could just maybe make people aware of it and ask them to sort it out rather than rounding up a lynch mob at the first minor problem.Yes, we have been persecuted in varying degrees for years, but the sooner we shake off the feeling of persecution and start seeing ourselves as equals, the sooner we will be equals.

  81. Sitster Mary Clarence 29 Oct 2007, 6:16pm

    I think someone needs to tell failed soap actor Michael Cashman that he’s missed the boat, so he can save himself the price of a stamp.And Robert – marriage is a contract by the same definition.

  82. The thing about Robert is that he has lots of money, he pays lots of taxes – but he brags about it, therefore he doesn’t have an ounce of dignity. This tells me an awful lot about him – as they say “You can take the girl out of the gutter, but you can’t take the gutter out of the girl” lolHe’s obviously well suited to the loud, brash, Capitalistic American society – and with any luck, he’ll stay there.

  83. I posted some comments on 27 Oct just to address the main issues and am astounded at the amount of irrelevant crap that has materialised since then apart from Maverick and John. Why oh why are you all so bitchy. I almost (but not quite) am beginning to wish I was straight ! Ian.

  84. Bonnie Prince Charlie 29 Oct 2007, 11:43pm

    Who the f**k is this Sister Mary Claptrap? What a bag of shite as we say up here in the Highlands. Can we please have a decent debate on the blatant discrimination by big take your money companies, denying those in LEGAL CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS their correct marital status. I bet anything you like that the likes of sad old Sister Mary Clap is single. God, to pinch an ecclesiastical name, can you imagine being Civil Partnered to him or her, whatever she/he/it is? It’s enough to make you go straight, well nearly as dear Ian has already mentioned. So come on all you Jessies, make November the month when we all expose those firms who deny those in Civil Partnerships their rights. Hit them where it hurts and give them the bad publicity they so desperately detest. There are plenty of firms out there who do not discriminate and they are just dying for our business, it’s our game now which makes a nice change so do it and enjoy it.Bonnie Prince Charlie

  85. You’re right Bonnie Prince Charlie and Ian, those of us who haven’t actually got one yet should nip out and get the word VICTIM tattooed across our foreheads and maybe paint a great big target on our backs.Steve (2) was absolutely right when with his comment, yes, we have been persecuted in varying degrees for years, but the sooner we shake off the feeling of persecution and start seeing ourselves as equals, the sooner we will be equals.Also Bonnie Prince Charlie if you’re up in the Highlands I’m a singing f**king kipper. I suspect you may in fact be an ocean away from Scotland – and Atlantic Ocean.

  86. Why oh why are you all so bitchy, you ask Ian, having just singled out probably the two people who contributed nothing other than bitching to the argument Was it perhaps Maverick’s use of the word ‘knob head’ that you considered a worthwhile contribution our John’s reference to ‘scum like them’I’m afraid for me anything worthwhile you might have had to say has just been flushed down the toilet.The “if my life’s not perfect then the whole world’s homophobic” brigade are thankfully in the minority here, but I have to give it to you, there are certainly a few of you. Admittedly some of you log on with different names to give the impression that you are greater in number, but still its a surprise to me that so many of you are around.I think most of us will savour the benefits we have and look forward to remaining minor issues being tidied up and resolved, and the rest of you can stew and fester over the fact that sometimes, just sometimes life just isn’t quite perfect … all the time. You will clearly never be happen, so I suppose its pointless even suggesting that you try to be.

  87. This debate begain over a narrow issue about whether or not banks are in breach of a legal abligation if they fail to provide facilities for those who have a civil partnership to enjoy the same facility as others who have legal status e.g married/divorced.Both Smile Egg were approached by friends of mine in a CP and my partner a long time ago and were politely asked about their failure to provide this facility in their drop down menus. For a very long time they prevaricated and then finally refused. Both indicated that they had been advised by their legal dept that there was no legal obligation to do so. No point in going through the courts because it takes forever. That is where the Pink Paper were informed and the story unfolded. Smile were not singled out though perhaps were unlucky that they have borne the brunt of this. But it is really asking too much to feel sorry for a bank prepared to breach the law. It could have been any institution including those who advertise in the Pink. There are many who have obeyed the law on this almost from the start including Lloyds TSB Barclays. No doubt because they were aware of Equality Act(Sexual Orientation) Regs 2007 made under s. 81 of the Equality Act 2006. which make it unlawful to discriminate on ground of sexual orientation. The regulations deal with many issues of which this is one. Read it on any search engine. They were in breach of a law designed to stop others treating gay people unfavourably. End of. Now they are aware of this and thanks to the tenacity and persistence of those who have brought this matter to a head hopefully the issue will be brought to a swift conclusion. How on earth can any level headed self respecting gay person even begin to criticise the action that has been taken ?

  88. I think the question is whether they discriminated in the provision of goods or services. As far as I am aware those entering into civil partnerships were not prevented access to good or services by Smile and therefore there was no breach of the law there.It has been pointed out again and again that in the absence of a drop down or any other type of box for civil partnerships the married option should be used as the two have identical status under law.I’m sure if you dredge the statutes you can probably find some minor infringement of the law somewhere if you look hard enough as you usually can, but I think this would have been more of a story if Smile where refusing to pay out a pension to a partner who had entered into a civil partnership or something similar, but of course they have not, as that WOULD be illegal.We will come across LITTLE issues like this no doubt for several years to come with the mass of legislation that is being changed. I for one will not be manning the barricades or joining a lynch mob for something as minor as this. I think we all need to get a sense of proportion.Next thing we’ll have women complaining its sexual discrimination that they don’t fill in the ‘male’ option on a gender question, or vice versa.My question to you before was “Was it perhaps Maverick’s use of the word ‘knob head’ that you considered a worthwhile contribution our John’s reference to ‘scum like them’?”. I notice that you haven’t come back with a reply. Perhaps it was because they seemed to side with your argument, and on that basis its okay for people to be as abusive as they like, maybe?

  89. Hi Steve, Actually it is NOT illegal to refuse to cough up full pension rights to a bereaved partner in a civil partnership ! So I take it you will at least take up the cudgel on that one ! Though I hasten to add this was not the issue here. Why not have a quick look at the Act or at least the summary before jumping to conclusions ?

  90. Robert, ex-pat Brit 31 Oct 2007, 2:27pm

    Ian, do you know for sure if it is not illegal to deny a bereaved partner in a civil partnership full pension rights? If that’s the case, shouldn’t this be addressed and resolved or maybe people just don’t care that much about it since they can’t marry?

  91. Robert, Goverment is the problem so far as civil service and local government. Not this government – any government. They say they can’t afford it. For example so far as lump sum payable on death is concerned it can only go back to 1984 (or 1982) can’t quite remember even if contributions commenced long before that whereas for married couples that is not the case – full pension rights for them calculated from the day the employee paid contributions maybe even as far back as early 60’s in some cases. I am not an expert on this but that much I do know !

  92. Sister Mary Clarence 31 Oct 2007, 5:40pm

    Calculation of survivor benefits for civil partners7. Initially, the Government announced its intention to use section 255 CPA to require schemes that contract out to make provision for survivor benefits for civil partners based on the scheme member’s rights accrued from the date of introduction of civil partnerships.8. This proposal attracted a number of representations from Members of both Houses of Parliament, as well as from many organisations and individuals. Their concern was that, while many schemes in the private sector already made provision for unmarried and same-sex partners, the difference in treatment between civil partners and spouses in those schemes that did not make such provision, would not be remedied for many years. This different treatment would not meet the Government’s objective of according to civil partners as many as possible of the rights and responsibilities accorded to married couples.9. In the light of representations received, the Government announced on 26 October 2004, that contracted-out schemes would be required to make provision for survivor benefits for civil partners on the basis of the contracted-out rights accrued from April 1988. This would treat surviving civil partners in the same way as widowers.I think the relevant part is the very last line.

  93. any differences (if there are any) would fall foul of the equalities act and legislation would need to be changed. as countless others have said there is a lot of legislation and with then copeous holidays that MPs take, all laws are not going to be changed over night. it also begs the question, when you are looking at the act are you going on to read all of the amendments since it was originally enacted to ensure that the issue you have has not already been dealt with?

  94. Robert, ex-pat Brit 31 Oct 2007, 7:14pm

    Ian, thank you for clarifying that for me. Seems that partnerships are then not equal to the married couples’ rights then. Why is it allowed if civil partnered couples are supposed to have the rights of marriage? I thought the government was supposed to treat them as such or am I missing something? Is anyone doing anything about it? They’ve had almost two years to make the necessary changes and a lame excuse at best, so what is taking them so long or is there no legal obligation for that too? Seems to me as if there is some conflict in the law that needs to be addressed. You’re either equal or your not, simple as that.

  95. Robert, All you say I agree with. Trouble is we have have lame ducks amongst us who are not, for whatever reason but usually ignorance, who are not only prepared to do nothing about but who actively complain when others do. My last word !

  96. Sister Mary Clarence 31 Oct 2007, 9:42pm

    Cooooooo-eeeeeehhhhhhhh Did you miss the bit where the DWP said “This would treat surviving civil partners in the same way as widowers” over the other side of the Atlantic, Ian.Lets not muddy the water with facts, eh? And if anyone does, we can always ignore them!

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