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Americans favour civil partnerships but don’t want gay marriage

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  1. My heart goes out to gay people in the USA who now have fewer rights than in almost any other major developed country. They have certainly fallen far being the UK, France, Germany etc. let alone the Netherlands, Scandinavia or Spain.

    Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are also streets ahead.

    They should probably, pragmatically, settle for Civil Partnerships, which confer most of the rights of marriage, and most importantly of all, these need to be recognised in federal law.

    This is of interest to people over here of all. At present most gay people don’t have the option of, say, going to work in the USA if they have a partner, because he/she would be treated as persona-non-grata.

    Come on USA. Take a lead from Europe.

  2. Robert, ex-pat Brit 12 Oct 2009, 3:37pm

    The same argument was made when Spain was mulling full marriage equality and look what happened, it passed the legislation. Already, five and possibly six states allow marriage with Washington DC and New York being the next. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to polls on this one. We’re winning, slowly but surely. The genie has been unleashed and its not going back in the lamp. Its inevitable.

  3. Can anyone please explain the difference between a Civil Partnership and a Marriage – i’m aware of the religious element but what exactly is the difference?
    I don’t know whether i’m married to my Civil Parner or not and i’m feeling rather confused!

  4. @Barry.

    If you are living in the UK, then no you are not married. Civil partnerships are different from marriage only in name i.e. you receive all the same benefits as a married couple. Straight cannot get civil partnerships, they are for same sex couples only.

  5. Thanks, Sammy; I couldn’t cope with living in sin!

  6. It is striking how far gay rights in the USA have fallen behind most major developed countries. My heart goes out to our American brothers and sisters.

    The “good news” is that conditions here in the UK were at least as bad 10 years ago. Of course we didn’t have to contend with such a powerful and organised extremist religious lobby.

    To my mind, Civil Partnerships are second best but a hell of a lot better than nothing. Pragmatically US campaigners should settle for them. The most important thing is to ensure that the Federal Law recognises them. At present, for example, it’s almost impossible to bring a same sex partner into the USA, which is a scandal.

  7. Brian Burton 12 Oct 2009, 4:56pm

    My Partner and I had our Civil Partnership cerimony in July 2006. It took place at Southampton (UK) Registrars Office. Later, we held the Civil Partnership reception in the old and famous South Western House restaurant where the Titanic Passengers Had their breakfast before boarding the doomed ship Titanic bound for New York. Actually, most of our guests were our Church friands. Our Minister had Blessed our Partnership before hand. I asked our Minister how come he is Gay-friendly? he replyed. Oh! I worked for the BBC once, it’s full of Gays!

  8. Mihangel apYrs 12 Oct 2009, 5:16pm

    as far as we know (and have been told!) it’s the equivalent of marriage. It hasn’t yet been fully tested as we haven’t had it long enough.

    However, that is only the case in the UK, even EU countries don’t necessarily recognise it.

    Only time will tell if we’re scure

  9. The christian concept of marriage is pre dated by pagan marriage and that pre dates the birth of christ and the creation christianity. This Christian objection is a total farce and should be challenged in the European court of human rights. They don’t own marriage so should be shut up once and for all on this subject as they don’t own it.

  10. The registry office is so close to my house in Lancashire, I can read the sign from my bedroom window which shows which door to go to for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships. Same door. How hard would it be to have a ‘civil marriage’ for everyone, meaning the same damn thing as far as benefits, legal rights etc. is concerned.

  11. I agree with you, Robert. This survey doesn’t really give the feel of what’s going on over here. After all, I live in Iowa……a state that I would not have expected to see same sex marriage legalized but they did it. I attended a same sex wedding in a small town near Cedar Rapids a few weeks ago and as it was an outdoor ceremony….in a park with a gazebo, I actually expected trouble from the local rednecks driving past, but not at all! People are waking up and seeing that same sex marriage will not damage society. They are seeing same sex couples raising happy, well adjusted children. Marriage equality is what it’s about….if something happens to your partner and they are hospitalized, the difference between civil partnerships and same sex marriage (in the US, anyway) is that you will not be allowed;entitled to even visit them with the former as where you can in the latter. Do you have hospital visitation rights and other rights given to straight couples over there in the UK under civil partnerships?

  12. Sorry I popped the last comment off before seeing your’s, Rose. I’m with you!

  13. Sorry, I popped off my first comment before I saw your’s, Rose. I’m with you!

  14. Loretta, I believe those hospital entitlements DO come with the civil partnership, but if anyone knows different, feel free to correct me. I have only been in a Lesbian relationship for a year, I am sometimes playing catchup in terms of understanding gay issues. I really only just came to realise a short while ago why people feel there IS a difference between civil partnership and marriage, and it was an eye-opener.

  15. Brian Burton 12 Oct 2009, 7:28pm

    Rose sweetie,
    Are you not looking at it all through rose-coloured glasses? He! He! No pun intended!

  16. If civil partnerships are the same thing as marriage, why do we have them?

  17. Pete & Michael 12 Oct 2009, 8:20pm

    Second Best We Say!. Give us Same-Sex Marriage that will give us Equality with those husbands and wives that are married.

  18. I think Americans should focus on getting civil unions recognised on a federal level (i.e. across the country) which Obama claims to be pushing for and then go after marriage on a state by state basis – wherever possible, whenever possible.
    I wish in the UK we had more of a push for marriage but everyone seems to be ok with civil partnerships. My partner and I are going to go abroad to get married and then we’ll come back to the UK where it will be recognised as a CP until same-sex marriage is eventually legalised here too. Frankly I don’t really like civil partnerships, they sound so bureaucratic. Not very romantic at all. And if you move to a country that does recognise same-sex marriage, I’m not sure a CP will be recognised as a marriage.

    Marriage equality is just the easiest, most simple solution for same-sex unions to be treated the same way as opposite-sex ones in all instances.

    In any case, in the UK a CP gives you all the same rights as marriage, and that does include hospital visitations rights. Loretta, even in the US, I’m quite sure that in some states like California, domestic partnerships do give you all the same rights that a state can give married couples. The problems arise when you’re out of state and your union is not recognised (thanks to DOMA) and within your home state when you’re dealing with rights that have to do with federal issues (like taxation, etc)

  19. Marriage is 1st and foremost a legal contract. Even if you get married in a church you have to sign the register for it to be legally recognised.

    As a legal contract, it is entirely unacceptable to deny access to that contract to someone based on their sexual orientation. Being gay is not a crime in the US or UK, therefore whether 99% or 2% are opposed to gay marriage is irrelevant. If I obey the law and pay my tax then I want the exact same access to the contract of marriage if I choose it.

    I do think CP legislation should be extended to straight couples as well mind.

  20. civil partnerships are an unfortunate joke. seperate but equal is not equal.

  21. Brian, yes, I probably am. Eternal optimist!

  22. Eventually a judge in an English or Scottish court will ask the government of the day for clarification.

  23. Brian Burton 12 Oct 2009, 11:14pm

    My Civil Partnership is certainly not a joke. I’m Married to the man of my dreams! C.P. is just another name for Marrage!

  24. Results of this survey don’t surprise me one bit. They don’t “mind” us gays…really! But mind us enough that they think we should know our place and not have the audacity to be considered their equals.

  25. Brian

    im glad your happy with the man of your dreams but CP are not the same as marriage. and even if they were, the name difference would be enough reason to end them. after all in segregated america, everyone drank the same water and just used different fountains. marriage and CP’s are different fountains that have been forced on us by a gurtless govt and religious lobbys

  26. Jean-Paul Bentham 13 Oct 2009, 2:34am


    In your post 8 you say:

    “The christian concept of marriage is pre dated by pagan marriage and that pre dates the birth of christ and the creation christianity. This Christian objection is a total farce and should be challenged in the European court of human rights. They don’t own marriage so should be shut up once and for all on this subject as they don’t own it.”

    Here, in my post 24, I say: Spot on!

  27. Pete & Michael 13 Oct 2009, 8:20am

    Valerio Comment 16. ‘My partner and I are going to go abroad to get married’ This will not be recognised in the UK, One will still have to apply for a Civil Partnership in the UK. Having a Civil Partnership in the UK does not mean that it will be recognised in most other countries, Marriage between a man and a woman is!

  28. Tim Hopkins 13 Oct 2009, 9:16am

    As part of our campaign for equal marriage, the Equality Network is doing a survey of people’s views on the current law. Responses from anywhere in the UK are very welcome! The survey is available here.



  29. Pete & Michael: “This will not be recognised in the UK, One will still have to apply for a Civil Partnership in the UK.”

    Is that right? :( The UK actually makes you apply for a CP even though you’re married? I knew about UK CPs not being recognised abroad, but I hadn’t really thought about it the other way round. That’s depressing.

  30. Aussie Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 13 Oct 2009, 10:02am

    It is a sin to not allow gays the right to marry!!!! Because if you do not support gay marriage you are an economic vandal.

    I do not support civil unions because they are “Jim Crow laws” or it is “second class citizen equality”.

  31. Harthacanute 13 Oct 2009, 11:56am

    Controversial perhaps, but my attitude is that the institution of ‘marriage’ should be completely disestablished – so that any marriage entered into after a certain date has no legal significance.

    Only civil partnerships (made available to anyone) should have any meaning in the eyes of the law .. and if beyond that people choose to have a meaningless ceremonial religious marriage, then that is up to them.

  32. Tim Hopkins 13 Oct 2009, 1:32pm

    Iris (#27): the UK has one of the most inclusive laws in the world for recognising, as UK civil partnerships, foreign same-sex marriages and registered partnerships. But of course we don’t recognise marriages as marriages, because the UK Govt still supports discrimination!

    Any couple who register a same-sex marriage abroad will be recognised in this country as if they were in a civil partnership. That means that not only do they not have to register a CP here, they are not allowed to! (You can’t register a CP if you are already recognised as having one, even if it’s with the same person)

    Unfortunately, as we know, many countries that have registered partnership are less good at recognising ones from other countries.


  33. Loretta and Rose – the issue of hospital visitation is different in the UK, as “next of kin” status (a legally vague concept anyway) is not automatically given to a person’s spouse. Heterosexual married couples and same-sex couples in civil partnerships DO NOT get automatic rights to visit their partner in hospital – the patient gives permission as to who can see them or staff make a judgement call when they are unable to do so. The main reason for this is to protect those who may have hospitalised by an abusive partner.

    “Next of kin” status is basically just an emergency contact person and legally they only thing they have a right to is the patient’s belongings if they die. Hope that clears things up.

  34. Pete & Michael 13 Oct 2009, 5:20pm

    Tim Comment 30. Having been in touch with a Local Registry Office, their answer is that the UK Registrar in an area must be notified if a Civil Partnership has taken place outside the UK. Seems confusing isn’t it, perhaps if one (or two) were to take their local Registrar with them say, to Vegas to witness the ceremony perhaps it may be legal in the UK.

  35. all are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  36. Brian Burton 14 Oct 2009, 1:06pm

    Steve C,
    How do you make that out, some more equal than others?

  37. Comments 30 and 32 – thank you for that information.

    I just can’t get my head round the fact that ‘any old marriage’ that has taken place in another country will be recognised in the UK as long as it involves a man and a woman, but if I married my girlfriend abroad, the UK government would refuse to accept it as a marriage.

    Just pure discrimination.

  38. Eagle the militant American Indian-Jew 19 Oct 2009, 10:46pm

    I am in favor of heterosexual couples being able to have civil unions, but I am totally against them having the right to marry as heterosexuality is immoral and against nature because they chose to be heterosexuals. You’ve not born a heterosexual, you choose that life style and its again Mother Nature.

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