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Straight couple’s civil partnership application rejected

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  1. Vincent Poffley 24 Nov 2009, 1:38pm

    Great! This sort of thing is exactly what we need to see if we’re going to raise consciousness and end the sexuality-based apartheid we currently have over marriage. If only more straight couples followed the lead of these two, and more gay couples pressed for full marriage rather than making do with the patronising sop of civil partnership. I would do so myself if the man I loved were to love me back.

  2. Well they may well get their Civil Partnership but it doesn’t mean the law will change to allow gay people to marry.

  3. Simon Murphy 24 Nov 2009, 1:50pm

    “The fact is that no gay people are really campaigning for equal marriage.”


    People only think that because the cowards of Stonewall pretend they represent the LGB community when they say they are opposed to legal equality for gay people. People (and more importantly political parties) need to realise that Stonewall is merely a collection of ‘professional gays’ (ie their ‘career’ is being officially gay) who represent no-one but themselves.

    And Harvey – I know that you are opposed to legal equality for gay couples (you follow some religion which hates you I suspect) – but surely you’re not obtuse enough to believe that if Civil Partnerships are extended to straight couples then marriage equality will still be denied to gay people who want it.

    Civil partnerships were created solely and specifically to deny gay couples access to civil marriage. That will change.

    I support CP’s and civil marriage for both gay and straight couples.

  4. Aussie Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 24 Nov 2009, 2:05pm

    Perhaps the law should not recognise any relationship – why does all the effort go into recognition when we need to look at ourselves and say I am tired of the legal system failing everyone in the community what is the point? ‘abolish’ civil partnerships and ‘abolish’ civil marriage all together!!!!!

  5. davevauxhall 24 Nov 2009, 2:12pm

    As a gay man I support Katherine Doyle and Tom Freeman wholeheartedly. Great stuff and thanks for your support. Religion does not own marriage it is also a civil institution and civil partnerships is a fudge to accommodate and cowtow to religious bigotry. It is not equality!

  6. Simon Murphy:-

    I am NOT opposed to legal equality at all and have NEVER suggested otheriwse. I may have suggested about timing but nothing as hatred at your statement read. I do not belong to any religion thank you. If you had read any of my threads you’d see that i agree and disagree with some. Your comments sound like typical stereotype bulling coming from someone who opposes other people especially gay people, whose ideas and suggestions are different from your own. Just because I am a proud out gay man doesn’t mean I have to comply with your views. It’s called freedom of speech. I will continue to speak as I feel and if that goes against you or other then this IS called debate. Your trying to belittle have failed and your bullyboy rant is duly noted and thrown in the rubbish where they belong. Please get your facts right become spouting your drivel.

    May I suggest you learn to accept other people have ideals and comments different from your own and we are not all SHEEP!

    Thank you!

  7. I fully support civil partnerships and marriage as an equal thing but don’t think for a minute just because this couple may or may not win some human rights claim that marriage will instantly become law for gay people too.

    In time yes i believe it will but not likely yet.

  8. Simon Murphy 24 Nov 2009, 2:46pm

    Harvey – if you support legal equality for gay relationships then I am curious to know why you seem to spend your time on here criticising other gay people for their dissatisfaction with their 2nd class legal status; or for criticising gay people for their opinions.

    It’s a bit rich for you to claim you support equality when you spent all day yesterday defending viciously homophobic religions. People will judge you by your words and your words strike some people as a religious excuse for bigotry.

    I notice in comment number 6 you don’t miss the opportunity to engage in some cheap digs at other gay people.

    What is your agenda? And why do you seem to be tolerant of homophobia yet intolerant of those who criticise religion?

  9. Simon Murphy 24 Nov 2009, 3:14pm

    No 7: Harvey: “I fully support civil partnerships and marriage as an equal thing but don’t think for a minute just because this couple may or may not win some human rights claim that marriage will instantly become law for gay people too. ”

    So why all the unnecessary aggression towards people who don’t agree with your stance?

    Like I already asked – what is your agenda?

    Are you really gay or are you one of those tiresome trolls that pops up here occasionally who pretends to be gay and then proceeds to tolerate and promote homophobia?

    That is the clear impression you are giving.

  10. Sister Mary Clarence 24 Nov 2009, 3:23pm

    Harvey, welcome aboard – this dispute has been going on, well since the government consultation showed that most of the consultees actually supported a separate but equal approach.

    Like you I support marriage and civil partnerships as equal. in fact I think there are benefits to be had from identifying them differently, in that it raises awareness across society of homeosexuality and shows that in many aspects of life gay and straight people have the same aspirations. I think by identifying our unions as ‘marriages’ in presents the opportunity for certain sections of society to airbrush us out of existence.

    Grouping us under an umbrella of ‘marriage’ allow us to be kept invisible. Children growing up now learn about marriage and they learn about civil partnerships, they learn postive messages about being gay rather than learning about it through exposés or sex scandals in the press.

  11. Why didn’t the lawmakers encourage the making of an orientation neutral bill…

    Why would the gay community allow wording on these civil partnerships to be instilled if removing the ability of a straight couple to enter into a civil partnership?

    As a gay man myself, I am saddened by this. The introduction of this legislation, like any other legislation regarding rights and protections of GLBT persons should be neutral and all-inclusive… otherwise what are we doing here aside from creating laws that encourage apartheid?

  12. Oh Lordy Simon:-

    I hear ya but what a load of crap. You spout you vile because someone dares to diagrees with you. Newsflash Simon: Yes I am 100% gay that doesn’t mean I have to agree with gay policies or your views. I have an open mind not a closed one like yourself who seems to insult people just because they have a difference of opinion.

    The ‘cheap dig’ was aimed at you for your what seems to be insults coz you can’t handle anyone elses opinion but ya own.

    I have no agenda, i don’t and haven’t supported homophobic religions. I do have an opinion. I have the right to speak it. I Will continue to do so. You vile attempts with bullyboy rants because I don’t follow you way will not succeed.

    I’m sorry you consider my right to free expression and speech as being aggressive. Maybe I just know how to debate and speak as I want not how you’d like me to speak and tow the gay line. i have always been the same and many friends wouldn’t have me any different. I like a debate, I like a challenge. You don’t give either.

    Then to go on to insult my sexuality? I am gay, I have suffered homophobia, I do feel we mistake some ignorance as homophobia but what you just say against me is just vile. It shows your intolerance at someone who can speak their own feeling and views. You’d clearly prefer all gay men to say the same, do the same and dare any gay person speak a diffence you have to through insult into how gay they actually are.

    As far as I’m concerned you don’t know the meaning of debate, freedom of speech or being able to have you very own opinion. Thats what people find interesting about me and probably not interesting about you.

    From here on as you see fit to insult me for being gay and having a realistic point of view of my very own, yes my own, I feel you have a lot to learn therefore do not wish to waste my time with someone who cannot take other points of views on board. Its too shallow and boring. Open your mind you might enjoy it and others might enjoy debating with you.

    End of!

  13. Id rather have the civil partnership
    I’m not religious, never have been and wouldnt even want my civil partnership in a church

    I still plan on getting my ceremony done by Elvis in vegas
    Just need money to get over there and a groom, any volunteers? =]

  14. SisterMaryClarence, usually I agree with a kernel of what you say or appreciate the logic of your argument.
    However: “Children growing up now learn about marriage and they learn about civil partnerships, they learn postive messages about being gay rather than learning about it through exposés or sex scandals in the press.”
    I know you you’d never dream of dabbling in the gutter tabloids, but I can guarantee you that the media had some pretty sleazy elements dealing with Matt Lucas’s partner’s suicide. And I’d also have to have to refer you to Jan Moir’s scabrous drivel about Stephen Gately’s death to disprove your pleasantly optimistic view of the press.
    Although, I’m happy enough with the idea of a civil partnership, I can understand why some people would prefer a civil marriage and that’s fair enough

  15. Two points, please:

    1 genuine question, and forgive my ignorance but why won’t a registry office (which I had always assumed to be non denominational and non religeously based) not provide what this couple wants? I can’t really see why they need a CP at all. Unless of course it’s either self publicity, or some personal political agenda.

    2 On CP vs marriage, of course we would (most of us) in an ideal world have preferred marriage, when the CPA was passed. But it just wasn’t possible to get that far, politically. The Lords would have blocked, and I have no idea if the Government would have invoked the Parliament Act on this one. Maybe they would, but why corner them forcing them to drag the act grudgingly to the statute books.

    My understanding is that the Lords (especially the right wing/religeous members, of course) were never going to countenance gay marriage proper, and agreed the CP compromise after some quite heated discussions.

    None of this gives me joy. I would have far preferred this amazing social change had been welcomed with open arms. But realistically, that would nere happen. There will always be prejudice and resistance. So the choice was pragmatism, or nothing. I respect Peter Thatchall vastly – he is one of my heros, but I simply do not understand his line that it should have been marriage, or better nothing at all (if I correctly understand his position). Makes no sense at all to me.

    Apart from anything else, CP is de facto marriage. All my friends and work collegues consider me married now, refer to the CP as marriage etc. Have you noticed how the press have taken to doing that also? Give it time. It’s early days yet. And please, let’s just be grateful to the point of wonder, at just how much those campaigning for us, have achieved in the past ten years, instead of carping.

  16. Excellently well put andrew!

  17. Sister Mary Clarence,

    And gay kids will learn they’ll never be allowed to marry like their classmates but have to have a separate form of recognition under the bureaucratic and sterile moniker of ‘civil partnership’.

    Marriage has a special and universal type of social status that no other form recognition has. CPs were purely about getting legal rights for same-sex couples they were not about saying gay people’s relationships are just as equal and valid as heterosexual ones. The government went out of their to not include any marital-like language in the CP bill; unlike marriage there’s nothing in a CP which even presumes that the “civil partners” are in anyway in a sexual and romantic relationship.

    The reason why CPs are more palatable to many straight people than same-sex marriage is because a lot of heterosexuals are willing to accept on an abstract level that gays should have the same legal rights as them but on a gut level they don’t accept that a gay couple’s relationship is equal to theirs.

  18. It’s a start, moamaom. Grab it, give it time. Little by little. And maybe the next generation will get more. I cant believe you would have preferred to have held out, and rejected CP in the (vain, I regret) hope of getting marriage now. It just wasnt going to happen.

    Frankly I care zilch for whether other consider my CP to be loving or sexual. It’s both, and there are only two people, for whom that is relevant, so far as I am concerned.

    Actually, now I re-think that it’s not true. I am proud that my relationship is recognised, and feel that after many many years, at last it has been accepted.

  19. Simon Murphy 24 Nov 2009, 5:05pm

    Civil partnership laws were created solely to deny gay couples access to the legal contract of civil marriage.

    Civil marriage has no religious element regardless of what the relious cults or the unelected House of Lords try to pretend.

    Therefore they are discriminatory.

    And they are doubly discriminatory as not only are gay couples denied access to the legal contract of civil marriage but straight couples are denied access to the legal contract of civil partnerships.

    It is desperately sad watching (otherwise intelligent) gay people trying to justify their 2nd class legal status.

    Either my relationship is equal to a straight relationship or it is not. If it is equal then I want the choice of how I wish to formalise it. Just as straight couples do.

  20. Simon Murphy 24 Nov 2009, 5:10pm

    18: “Grab it, give it time. Little by little. And maybe the next generation will get more. I cant believe you would have preferred to have held out, and rejected CP in the (vain, I regret) hope of getting marriage now. It just wasnt going to happen.”

    You’re talking as if there is a prospect that CP’s are going to be taken away from us.

    They are not. Even the Tories won’t remove them.

    Therefore I cannot understand why ANY gay person is in favour of denying access to civil marriage to gay people.

    It screams ‘self-hatred’ to me.

    Especially seeing as supporting equal access to civil marriage for gay couples in NO way damages your rights under a CP.

  21. Looking at their photo I saw two great looking lesbians. He needs to work on his tuck game…

  22. Simon, you are missing the point. It was either CP, or nothing (at least for the time being). I am not suggesting we lose CP. But had those advancing it held out for “more”, they would have come away empty handed. I don’t like it; but its real world politics.

    I don’t think I gave any impression that I would deny marriage to gay people. On the contrary, re-read what I said. I would have preferred it. But it was never on offer; and (really, not wishing to labour the point but you do rather seem to be missing it), had we rejected CP, insisting on marriage, we would have got nuttn!

    Plese do not call me a self hater! That was not called for. It really is easy to chuck cheap insults. But, actually, it doesnt achieve anything.

    You may be a purist, prefering nothing at all, to compromise. I respect that. I do not, at all, criticise that view. But it’s not mine.

  23. Dominick J 24 Nov 2009, 5:21pm

    Yes there are Gay folks who like Civil Unions. I prefer to be married. There are more benefits/advantages to being married, especially here in the States then to have a Civil Union in the States only. As for this couple going in and applying for a Civl Union, I applaud them, well I applaud their reason. Everyone should have the Choice and it shouldn’t be just a religious right.
    I still feel that the license name should be changed to Civil Union and what you do with that license is your own business. They don’t need to change anything else BUT the name of the license!

  24. Andrew, I agree with what you’re saying but I wish I could see some more aspirational thinking around. I think CPs were a welcome change when they came, but I wish we could see them today as a temporary step on the way to full marriage equality. The fact that separate institutions need to exist to appease traditionalists who feel gay relationships do not sit on a par with heterosexual relationships should not be acceptable. I think CPs have given gay couples rights, but in our society only marriage equality can give equal dignity.

    And this couple applying for CPs are right: “gay people aren’t really campaigning for equal marriage” here in the UK. Look at what’s going on in the US. That’s campaigning.

    Simon, I agree with your position but I just can’t understand why you are trying to alienate everyone on this board attacking them if they don’t agree with you.

  25. I tend to think you are correct Valerio. Having secured CP, we have rather stopped on the campaign. I know my campaigning mates have moved on to other matters, or just burned out and stopped.

    So, fair wind to those who want to get marriage for us. Go get it. I hope I live to see it. It’s not for me, in any event, but that’s my personal choice.

    Simon, I assume your vociferous support for the insitution of marriage will translate into actual activity on your part, if it has not already done so. I wish you luck in your efforts.

  26. I’m not clear why anyone with the choice to enter into a legal contract that’s honoured both here and abroad would choose to sue for the right to enter into one that’s not honoured abroad. I mean, I’d like the same rights as any married couple on holiday in France, for example, if my partner got ill. I get taking civil partnership because it’s the only game in town for same-sex couples, but I don’t get how a male-female couple choosing the right to be discriminated against helps. I’m probably being dense, so if there’s someone out there who’d like to help me out, I’d welcome that.

  27. well I dont want a gay wedding , and I dont agree with them , but I do agree with equailty and choice , and that is why I support the choice for any one to have a gay marriage or civil partnership. You cannot be some one who supports equailty then picks and chooses which of those equiltys you want . I am afraid it is all or nothing. I am behind this couple 100% as it will exposed the double standards for both straight and gay people. Good luck to them

  28. andrew flynn 24 Nov 2009, 6:19pm

    This sounds a bit suspect to me, its sounds like they just want to make a point

  29. someone help me out here please; this is purely my ignorance but what is the difference in a heterosexual context between a CP and a civil marriage at a registry office?

  30. Tim Hopkins 24 Nov 2009, 6:48pm

    It’s a pity that Katherine Doyle said that no gay people are campaigning for equal marriage. It’s not true. In Scotland there is a very active campaign, involving two of Scotland’s big national LGBT organisations – the Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland – the LGBT Network, NUS Scotland, and other groups and people.

    See for example the Scottish Equal Marriage website, and the Equality Network’s page on marriage.

  31. Tim Hopkins 24 Nov 2009, 7:09pm

    Andrew, I’m not sure that Peter Tatchell has said we should not have campaigned for CP – I thought he’s saying that we should now take the next step. But I could be wrong on that.

    Anyway, speaking for myself, I was very involved, with other colleagues from the three national Scottish LGBT groups – Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland – in getting us CP here in Scotland, and ensuring that it gave equal legal rights to marriage.

    But I welcome people carping about it! It’s not equality, and we knew that when we worked so hard to get it. But it was a huge step forward, and of crucial importance to many same-sex couples.

    I’ve always believed in looking ahead to the next step – otherwise progress can stall. One of the top Dutch LGBT activists told me back in 2002 that the reason they got same-sex marriage only three years after they got CP, was that they were campaigning for s-s marriage even before they got CP.

    We chose not to do that, so as not to undermine the chances of getting CP, as others have written, and I think that was the right decision.

    But in my view it’s more than time we started on the next step. The campaign for same-sex marriage will take some years to succeed, so let’s get started!

  32. Sister Mary Clarence 24 Nov 2009, 7:12pm

    @moamaom – and left handed kids will learn to write with their left hand and right handed kids will learn to write with their right hand.

    No one will tell either the kids writing with their left hand they are evil and wrong, and no one will tell the kids writing with their right hand they are wrong.

    Both groups will be respected and treated equally.

    That was really more th thread of my argument.

    @Dominick J – civil partnerships US style are absolutely nothing like the UK ones thankfully – other than in name (hence the confusion that often arises)

    @Darrien- yes you’re right about the tabloids, but they say what they say to sell newspapers and gay or straight, if they can make a story they will – these days there are fairly even with their disfavour – Britneys Vegas wedding being a good example.

    However, the specific topic of civil parnerships will come up in the core curriculum for kids at school very soon as part of learning about relationships presenting the inescapable truth that gay people (possibly more so that straight people) also enter into life-long committed relationships.

  33. I agree that we shouldn’t mock Stonewall for getting CPs when they did. They had a much easier ride in parliament on the basis that they were not “gay marriage” even if they were in practice. (The differences between CP and civil marriage is minimal apart from the name). And getting basic rights like next-of-kin rights avoided serious hardship to gay couples. So practical equality needed to be got. it would have been ridiculous to cause real suffering to real people by an “all or nothing” approach.

    That said, now is the time to move on and obtain full equality. and although I am grateful to Stonewall and others for what they did to get CPs I am disappointed that they do not recognise what I at least sense as the real push for legal gay marriage and campaign accordingly.

  34. Brian Burton 24 Nov 2009, 7:28pm

    This couple were turned down because they would have flouted the CP rules rather than the law. Now, in my experiance, rules were ment to be brocken so I’ve been told, if they do take it to the Court of Human Rights and win….well who knows?

    Simon Murpy’s veiws on these sort of intricate problems are very sencable and valid and should not be dismissed by the likes of Harvey!

  35. Islington’s “Head of democratic services” is in charge of the Registrar’s office – what the ????

    And Andrew, if you campaign for inequality, as the self-appointed gay groups did with civil partnerships, why be surprised when you get inequality?

  36. Barry, Northampton 24 Nov 2009, 8:01pm

    Finally other people who have as the same opinion on this matter. If they want to be recognized as legal partners then get married like every other straight couple.

  37. Brian Burton boldly states “This couple were turned down because they would have flouted the CP rules rather than the law.” – no, the law, specifically s1(1) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 states “A civil partnership is a relationship between two people of the same sex (“civil partners”)…” – it’s in section 1 subsection 1 and forms the opening few words of the Act, ie the law, that a partnership is between two persons of the same sex – what are you on about that a mixed-sex couple being granted a CP would not be flouting the law – or perhaps you think that an Act of parliament is not a law? Even if a declaration is made in the ECtHR that a particular law breaches the ECHR then that law remains perfectly valid law unless parliament repeals it. So to say they are not breaching the law is just rubbish – I hope you don’t charge for “insights” like this!

  38. Tim, yes unless I am mistaken, that was Peter T’s position; marriage or nothing, for the reasons given by some people here. It’s one way of treating the undoubted equality, as suggested by Angelic above (if you campaign for inequality you get inequality). But actually, the real world position here would have been if you campaign for equality, you get nothing.

    So, no CP.

    Some may prefer that, but as I hope I have made clear, I do not. I will happily live with the compromise until we manage to achieve more.

  39. Tim Hopkins 24 Nov 2009, 8:20pm

    Angelica – I can tell you that here in Scotland, the campaign in 2003/4 for civil partnership was firmly based on what the LGBT communities said they wanted us to campaign for at that time, in a range of consultations and conferences between 2000 and 2003.

    Back in 2002, around 15% or so of LGBT people here in Scotland said “no to CP – we only want you to campaign for marriage”. Around 15% said “we don’t want marriage at all, but CP would be great”. And the other 70% said “in the long run only marriage is equality, but we want you to campaign for CP now because it’s a huge step forward from where we are, we could get it soon, and we think we’ll be waiting at least 10 years for marriage. We’d rather have CP now and marriage later”

    So Scottish LGBT groups campaigned for civil partnership, which we both agree is not equality, with the backing of the large majority of LGBT people in Scotland who expressed an opinion.

    Many of the same people now want to see a campaign for the next step – equal marriage. In fact, in our latest survey of LGBT people in Scotland, 85% want us to campaign for same-sex marriage. 53% say it’s a high priority, and 30% say it’s a medium priority.

  40. Christopher 24 Nov 2009, 8:23pm

    Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle must desire self-publicity for some hidden agenda or reason. Why else would they campaign for heterosexual couples to have the choice to enter into a Civil Partnership and not a Civil Marriage? In both they will have the same legal rights and responsibilities to each other, including taxation, benefits, protection against domestic violence, immigration merits and next of kin status, amongst many others. They will also have the added protection from a civil marriage that when in foreign countries they will be recognised as a legal couple. Both parties are also entitled to the same rights for dissolution of the Partnership as they would be in a Civil Marriage.

    The only differences between a Civil Union (or Partnership) and a Civil Marriage is primarily the grounds for annulment of a partnership. Civil partners cannot use unfaithfulness or non-consummation as grounds for an annulment. This is because the law is based on an understanding of same-sex relationships being non-sexual. This is therefore something that many homosexuals still feel the need to address, especially due to the teachings from the Church regarding celibacy of homosexuals. (See documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (R.C. Church)years 1986 and 2003)

    What I don’t understand is why a heterosexual couple, who have the option of Civil Marriage, want to campaign for the choice to enter into something that many homosexual people themselves, including some of you on this discussion board, have already described as ‘second class’. Same-sex couples who wish to enter into a legal partnership with each other are campaigning to remove the half-hearted attempts of the CPA 2004 and ensure an equal legal union akin to heterosexual marriage. Why then should we campaign to allow more people to enter into Civil Partnerships when they have the option to enter into the Utopia of ‘marriage’? It seems not only contradictory to me, especially Tatchell’s defense of this couple, but also patronising on the part of Freeman and Doyle as they merely wish to enter into a Civil Partnership as they are against ‘the whole institution of marriage because it discriminates against gay people.’ (BBC News website)

  41. Tim, yes, I think that was Peter T’s position, all or nothing.

    Angelica, I dont think “if you campaign for inequality….why be surprised when you get inequality?” is the point.

    Had we campaigned for equality we would have got nothing at all.

    No Civil Partnership.

    Not my preference, as I hope I have made clear.

  42. Tim Hopkins 24 Nov 2009, 8:29pm

    Hi Angelica, you’re right that the rule that CPs can only be same-sex is written into the CP Act, effectively written into the law (it’s a different part of the Act for Scotland).

    Interestingly, though, because the Scotland Act gives the European Convention on Human Rights a sort of constitutional status in Scotland, the rest of what you wrote is not the case in Scotland.

    If a court in Scotland found that the same-sex only rule for CPs breached the ECHR (and the Scottish courts would be pretty much bound to, if the Euro Court had found that) then that court could require the Scottish Govt to introduce legislation to open CP to mixed-sex couples, within a set time period. If the CP Act had been passed at the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish courts could simply amend it directly if it breached the ECHR, but that power doesn’t apply when Westminster legislates for Scotland.

    Sorry that’s was bit technical!

  43. Tim Hopkins 24 Nov 2009, 8:47pm

    Christopher, certainly in Scotland there is no “sexual”/”non-sexual” distinction between marriage and CP. I can’t write with knowledge for England and Wales.

    Adultery in Scotland is very narrowly defined in law as full heterosexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse. Any same-sex sexual acts, and any kind of sex between a man and woman that does not involve vaginal intercourse, is not adultery.

    However, all those kinds of unfaithfulness can be grounds for divorce (or CP dissolution) under the “unreasonable behaviour” ground,which applies equally for marriage and CP. So the adultery ground for divorce is actually not needed – unfaithful vaginal intercourse is already a basis for divorce under the unreasonable behaviour ground. In fact the Scottish Law Commission recommended for that reason getting rid of the adultery ground for divorce some years ago – it was only retained as a sop to the churches because it’s mentioned as a ground for divorce in the bible.

    So it is possible in Scotland to get a dissolution of CP for sexual unfaithfulness, on grounds of unreasonable behaviour. If the adultery ground had been included in the rules for CP dissolution, it would not have been useable for same-sex unfaithfulness anyway, so arguably would only have applied in a minority of cases of unfaithfulness, which are in any case also covered by unreasonable behaviour.

    As far as non-consummation is concerned – in Scotland that is not a ground for annulment of marriage. Sex is not compulsory for marriage in Scotland, and it’s the same for CP! Time the consummation rule was abandoned for England and Wales?

    However, a refusal ever to have sex with your spouse or CP, when they expected you to do that when they married/CPed you, could amount to the unreasonable behaviour ground for divorce/dissolution, and that would apply equally to a CP and a marriage.

  44. Robert, ex pat Brit 24 Nov 2009, 8:47pm

    Simon, I totally concur with you. In fact, civil partnerships will NEVER be the norm for gay couples in the western hemisphere now that seven countries have opened marriage to gay people. That list will continue to grow. Partnerships, unions, PACs, will NEVER have the universal recognition or portability that marriage has. Full integration into society is what this is about and legally segregating us from the rest with rights under a different name is just that. The two are NOT the same and never will be which is why they were created. Just because some people consider their partnershps as marriages is fine if they enjoy segregation and beint treated differently (hardly assimilation), until the law recognises them as such, they will remain separate and apart from the rest of society.

    Harvey, if the EU did in fact rule in favour of this couple, there’s no way the government could keep us from marriage for those of us who want it. It would set a precedent and rightly so. In a true democracy, you don’t take away rights, you expand them so that all are treated equally, not reserve some for the majority while giving similar rights to same-sex couples under a different name. Civil marriage has absolutely NO connection to the religious component, never has, never will.

    As for the House of Lords opposing full marriage equality, its about time that absurd, irrelevant anachronistic body be abolished. They’re unelected, they don’t represent the people and shouldn’t have any power to say who should enjoy this or that right. To hell with them.

  45. They will probably lose if they decide to go this far, because no substantial rights have been taken from them (except for the name of the legal institutian, which is not really a right).

  46. Mihangel apYrs 24 Nov 2009, 10:02pm

    to those of you saying CP is de facto marriage: no it isn’t, at least as far as pensions go. The trustees of your pension fund can tell you to whistle for anything for you CP, and bend and twist entitlements.

    There could well be other pitfalls that we would have avoided if we were afforded civil marriage, we will find out in time

  47. What was bizarre about the legislation in the first place was the fact that in a strange way it discriminated against almost everyone-straight couples who wanted to have a CP and at the same time gay couples who wanted to get married. All the laws about what a marriage is defined as and how it works are long established. The answer should have been to legalize same sex marriages giving same sex couples exactly the same rights and obligations as different sex couples and dropping all the CP stuff altogether. The only people who are going to benefit from the present mish-mash are lawyers who are going to have years of fun arguing over it.

  48. I don’t really understand how the civil partnership works…nor am I a big fan of marriage however I think those who believe in a union of some sort should be given the choice to join these unions whether it’s a civil partnership or a marriage. It’s just one of the basic human rights. On this particular scenario I don’t understand why the couple want a civil partnership when they can get married or have a civil registry? Can anyone explain this?

    p.s. sorry if I have come across being a bit blunt…just trying to understand what the couple are trying to achieve.

  49. Bill Perdue 25 Nov 2009, 4:23am

    Civil partnerships are a form of second class citizenship imposed on us by the cults, primarily the roman and anglo catholic cults. They were accepted by all the major parties because they don’t have the guts to buck the cults when it comes to their bread and butter.

    The cults are desperate to keep marriage in their sphere of interest because it, unfair tax breaks and donations from the dense are their principal means of income. Heaven forefend that anyone ask a cleric to actually get a productive job. In any case most are unqualified for real jobs for reasons best described by psychiatrists and should just be honest, collect welfare and get the needed psychiatric treatments.

    Marriage is, for me, one of the least palatable forms of partnership. Nevertheless I think that it’s important that all the advantages of hetero marriage should be open to partners of all kinds and to single people. The state has only one compelling interest in partnering and that is to protect women and children. Neither the state or the cults have any other legitimate interest in the question.

    Reading the comments above I think it’s fair to say that those who support the segregation of the LGBT communities as second class citizens are collaborators and accomodationists who do the bigots work for them.

  50. Bill your last paragraph is a tiny bit over the top! I re-read the whole thread, and nobody has supported LGBT as second class.

    If you mean those like me who preferred CP to nothing, you may feel that is “second class” but nothing at all isn’t even on the train. I can’t believe you prefer standing still, to moving along, even in less than best comfort. Eventually we will upgrade.

  51. By the way, the point about trustees on a pension being able to ignore a CP, is, bluntly, wrong. Many (I have no idea if it is most) pension rules have been rewritten to accommodate CPs. In the case of any which have not, there is legislation to protect CPs, although there is an anomoly concerning its retrospective impact and I agree that is unfair.

  52. Parliamentarians in New Zealand didn’t think the country was ready for gay marriage so we got Civil Union legislation in 2005 which has the same rights & responsibilities as marriage. This is available to any adult couple (except close relations). So far we have twice as many same sex couples uniting as different sex couples. There are fewer civil unions each year than marriages but in time that may change.

  53. Bill Perdue 25 Nov 2009, 11:13am

    Andrew No. 50 – What I’m saying is that, irrespective of their intentions or illusions, people who support an inferior status for us are, in the real world, supporting second class citizenship.

    Accomodationists don’t have carry a banner calling for second class citizenship, all they have to do is support segregated, and for that reason, inferior statues. They should stop it.

    As ML King Jr. said “ A right delayed is a right denied.

  54. Bill, bluntly: which do you prefer
    (a) Civil Partnerhip being our right
    (b) No Civil Partnership, nada, zip.

    That was the choice, on the ground, available to those campaigning for us. There was no (c), marriage, option available. Had there been, of course we would (I hope) have supported it. But sadly not.

    So, I support (a). If that is second class I pfrefer it to (b.

    Should we have delayed/held out for more? I suppose that would have been possble, but we still would not have had Civil Partnerships in 2009, or for the forseeable future. Now that’s second class!

  55. Ah well, that’s equality for you. Yet another storm in an egg cup over stupid semantics. We have marriage, and all the legal rights of everyone else, it’s just referred to in a different way so as not to piss off the Bible-bashers. I can live with that, I just wish all the pragmatist lefties on here would do the same.

    Next thing, gay men will be demanding to get pregnant.

  56. Brian Burton 25 Nov 2009, 1:43pm

    Pregnant Pause…Heaven Forbid Sir by jingo and all that!
    After all Sir, a map of the world that dose not include Utopia is not worth glancing at. Discontent is the first step In the progress of a man or nation.

  57. You’re right Andrew. Peter T, and the Green Party, did completely oppose CPs. What’s so strange about his position is that he so much wants us all to be assimilationist. I want to be different!

  58. Bishop Ioan 25 Nov 2009, 2:10pm

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that no GLB’s aren’t campaigning for marriage–it’s clear that quite a few would prefer civil marriages rather than civil unions. That said, I am with Andrew on this one. It sounds as if civil unions were the best we could get at the time. I could well see the House of Lords scuttle the whole thing had the choice been civil marriage or nothing. Better to have civil unions instead of the alternatives–no civil marriage or civil unions.

    Like another poster, I think that civil marriage will come sooner than you might think. Many, many same-sex couples are already considered to be married. I believe that,in time, that will translate into civil marriage. People will see that there are no differenceses between civil marriage so why not change civil partnerships to civil marriage. Marriage equality will come, although whether or not I will live to see it is up in the air.

    I think Tom Freeman and Doyle have done a noble thing in applying for a civil union instead of a civil marriage. IMO, either consciously or unconsciously, this couple has advanced full rights for GLB people. My hat is off to them.

  59. Robert, ex pat Brit 25 Nov 2009, 2:27pm

    Bill, you’re absolutely right. Marriage and civil partnerships should be interchangeable for both sexual orientations, no question about that. Civil Partnerships definitely are are better than nothing, but they are NOT marriages and many of us want that right by choice. I’m fine if people don’t want marriage, but they shouldn’t oppose those of us who do, organisations such as StonewallUK should stop opposing it and if its really interested in full equality, get on board.

    RobN….you may think civil partnerships are marriages just because they mimic marriage, but in reality and according to the law of the land, they most certainly are not. One can consider them, treat them as such, but the fact of the matter is, they are not, otherwise they would not be called civil partnerships. This has NOTHING to do with semantics. British gay men and women are banned from marriage, period. That is NOT equality either. Why are more countries abandoning these different types of legal unions for marriage? Why aren’t most western societies opting for civil partnerships if they’re as universally recognised and accepted as marriage is?

  60. Gays are the only minority so pathetic and self-loathing that they consider it a matter of indifference and semantics when their denied a fundamental human right and instead flogged some substitute.

    RonN, just because you’re content to being treated as a second-class citizen so as “not to piss off the Bible-bashers” doesn’t mean we all are. CPs are objectively inferior to a civil marriage; their treated less favourably when it comes to pensions and very few countries recognise them.

  61. Great to hear “Heterosexuals” taking a stand against the absurb anomolies of heterosexism which has lead to this two tier system of legally recongised conjugal configurations.

    Lets harmonise the conjugal and get rid of the two tier configurations

    Congratualtions to Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle’s some what anarchic challange.

    Bless their cotton socks with civil confetti

  62. maomaom…
    “CPs are objectively inferior to a civil marriage; their treated less favourably when it comes to pensions and very few countries recognise them”
    (a) pensons, not true – please justify the statement
    (b) other countries, not true – please justify the statement

    Actually, come to think about it, please justify the general inferiority of CPs, by reference to checked facts! I think you will be hard pressed.

    And yet again, which would you prefer, CP, or nothing. That was the choice? There was never a choice of CP or marriage. Sure, criticise ourselves if you want, for accepting second best. Since best was not available, I think we (they, really, most of did bugger all) did pretty well in what they got. Nothing self loathing about that, or pathetic. Is there?

  63. andrew,

    On the claim that marriage wasn’t on the table and it was either CPs or nothing, I’ve never really disputed that. If the government had gotten behind it then yes I think it would have been possible, the government forced an equal age of consent through after it being voted down in the Lords so they could have done the same with marriage equality. However I’m aware that at the time the CPA was passed only 2 countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) had gay marriage, so it would have been a bold move.

    However times have changed and more countries, like Sweden and Norway, have abandoned CPs and moved on to full marriage equality. I don’t criticise anyone for campaigning for CPs at the time they did but what I do object to is to those (like the government and even Stonewall) who say that CPs are an acceptable permanent compromise which provide enough equality so that gays don’t really need the right to marry.

  64. Robert, ex pat Brit 25 Nov 2009, 6:04pm

    moanmaom, quite right. Don’t forget, Canada, Spain and South Africa and five states in America have granted gays the right to marry, in addition to the other four you mentioned. A trend that will continue to grow, invevitable. The UK will be one of the last countries to join them as long as Stonewall and their supporters have anything to do with it, while others pass us by.

  65. Robert, ex pat Brit 25 Nov 2009, 6:11pm

    Andrew, whether a few countries recognise CPs or not, why is it that our own government refuses to recognise a same-sex couple legally married elsewhere? The answer to that is rather obvious of course because it would open up the door for our own gay people to access marriage. Any same-sex married couple entering the UK would be in for a rude awakening because their marriage certificate would not be recognised for what it is, but instead downgraded to a CP. I have a huge problem with that as do millions of other gay couples. Its an absolute disgrace and extremely offensive to couples who are married and who NEVER formed a civil partnership. Absolutely outrageous and inequitable and definitely NOT acceptable.

  66. Andrew love, you, or those you allow to campaign for you, campaigned for inequality and you got inequality, I would congratulate you and Stonewall on achieving inequality if it wasn’t for the negative impact people like you have on the civil rights of the rest of us.
    And you assert that CP is not inferior to marriage – I think you’ll find that almost all countries of the world recognise marriage as an institution even if the specific rules are different between the various countries whereas civil partnerships are not generally recognised in international law and will only be accepted by that handfull of countries which specifically legislate to recognise other country’s CPs. Would you accept that that makes CP inferior to marriage or would you simply reject the reality?

    Now, is Big Bouncing Brian Burton going to admit he was wrong when he asserted that recognising a mixed-sex couple for a CP was a breach of rules and not the law? Of course not, that would require honesty and and a little thought.

  67. Sorry, I should have thanked Tim Hopkins for his intelligent explanation of the legal situation in Scotland but I would say that just because a majority of people support inequality that’s no reason to campaign for inequality, we’d be in a pretty sorry state if we went down that road too often.

  68. The problem with people who use vituperative in posts is that they forget to focus on the points as made by others. Let’s please keep the sarcasm, irony and insult out of this – it is easy to do, not very civilised and will degrade an intelligent exchange of reasonable views.

    Angelica please take a moment to read what I have constantly said here, which is that I would also have preferred marriage; but it was never to be. (By never I mean then; maybe in the future, had the campaigners waited and tried again, it would have been, but what a risk to take and no CP in the interim).

    So instead we got CP. Not perfect, not marriage, but something and when you think back to where we were ten years ago, a bloody fantastic something. That surely must be the key point here. And I, for one, am grateful for it.

    Yes, i know there are some anomolies; I know about the pension backdating issue (though I understand most pension trustees exercise discretion). I know that a handful of countries deny some rights on technical grounds (but those like France will have to stop this nonesense when the EU makes them – it’s being looked at now). And I also know there are a couple of back-dating issues (which by the way also apply to marriage).

    But come on! Compare that to the void, the nothing, we would have had if Stonewall and the peers in the Lords who fought for us (this battle was fought in the Lords, not the Commons, don’t forget) had held back as suggested by some. Would you really, honestly, have preferred to have had no CP, as a matter of principle? And waited until when? The next government would have not been in any rush to promote CPs had it not been already done – so, when?

    On the suggestion that we now campaign for marriage, I agree. I am right behind that – where do I sign? I want full equality as much as anyone else who has posted for that here. I agree it’s an important principle, and we should go for it. We should treat CPs as an incremental step and move on to the next one. If anyone who has called me negative has misunderstood me as saying otherwise, maybe I have not in the past been clear, but I hope I have now.

  69. Marrriage . . . here we come. . . . and get me to the church on time!!!

    A good forum to discuss this would be in the “My” space section on this site

  70. Robert, ex pat Brit 25 Nov 2009, 9:25pm

    Andrew,I’m relieved to hear that you are for full marriage equality. Nicely put.

    Angelica, you raise some interesting and relevant points. The inequalities of CPs, PACs and other forms of EU same-sex unions is that none of them are uniform or universal in the rights each conveys. For example, CPs bestow almost all of the rights of marriage, but other unions such as PACs offer very few rights and privileges inherent in marriage and certainly not nearly as much as CPs do. That’s the problem with them. If the EU mandated CPs across the board for everyone, then that would be a fairer situation, but it doesn’t, nor do I see that ever happening. What the EU could do as a first step towards marriage for same-sex couples is to do what the seven countries and states in America are doing, ergo…recognising same sex marriages performed elsewhere for what they are. If a British gay couple gets married in Holland, Belgium, Spain, Norway or Sweden, their marriage should and must be recognised as such upon return to the UK irrespective of the ban on same-sex marriage. I think that’s terribly unfair and offensive. The EU needs to change that, sooner rather than later.

    I’m currently a resident of New York state were we have domestic partnerships in some parts of the state and the city of New York, similar to civil partnerships, but….same-sex marriages are officially recognised in the state as marriages, NOT downgraded to domestic partnerships which they clearly are not, and rightly so. Our government is pigheaded and very regressive on this one. Its going to fire back on the government sooner or later as more countries get on board.

  71. Robert, interested in what you write but are you in danger of mixing EU and ECHR? I have a passing knowledge of ECHR but none at all of EU. Is it likely that the EU would seek to impose uniformity in this area? Is that because it is a “free movement of workers” and pensions issue?

  72. Andrew, those who you say campaigned on your (certainly not my) behalf, unrepresentative Stonewall and unrepresentative Peers, campaigned for inequality and we got inequality.

  73. Actually, Angelica, they campaigned long and hard for equality; they pragmatically compromised on what you call inequality. That’s the best they could do. Assuming they were acting in good faith, which I do, let’s thank them and those concerned for what they got, and encourage them to move on to get more.

    I assume, but maybe I am wrong, that you would have preferred them to have rejected the CP compromise and fought on for marriage, back then. Had they done that, it is quite clear we still would not have been allowed to have a CP.

    That might be your preference. It is for sure not mine.

    I pause before personalising, but I think you are being a little ungracious about Stonewall and more so about the peers who got us CP. They both (and others) worked long and hard. I know people involved (some well)and it was a very tough task. Don’t belittle them, please, for doing their best.

  74. SMC “No one will tell either the kids writing with their left hand they are evil and wrong, and no one will tell the kids writing with their right hand they are wrong.”

    Tell that to my Dad, who got a ruler or cane rapped across his knuckles if he to write with his left hand.

  75. Andrew, those to whom you abdicate agency campaigned for inequality and we had inequality imposed upon us. You might thank them for campaigning for inequality but I think they are reactionary parasites.

  76. There you go, Angelica, you have descended to insults. In my experience that only happens once the arguments have been lost. Enjoy it there.

  77. Andre:
    | Actually, Angelica, they campaigned long and hard for
    | equality; they pragmatically compromised on what you
    | call inequality. That’s the best they could do.

    Actually, having been a campaigner for same-sex marriage and all other equality for 30 years, I can tell you with absolute certainty that Stonewall campaigned AGAINST same-sex marriage all along, and still do not back it.

    When I questioned Sumerskill about it when the government first mentioned civil partnerships his response was of ridicule, which jarred very starkly in the international human rights context in which same-sex marriage had been a very hot issue ever since the Supreme Court of Hawai’i ruled that the anti-miscegenation ruling in the US Supreme Court, Loving-v-Virginia (1967) applied to a same-sex marriage (NB not homosexual marriage) license case (Baehr v. Lewin, 1963) brought to them on other grounds. Those judges were the first to point out that this was sex discrimination, which was against the state constitution, just as the Loving case had determined that barring “mixed-race” marriage was race discrimination, which was illegal. The Defence of Marriage Act was passed in reaction to that because the right-wing realised it was a killer argument.

    By the time the civil partnerships bill was presented in the Commons, The Netherlands and Belgium had years of experience of enacted same-sex marriage with no problems, and Canada had it through a court case on the same grounds as the Hawai’i case – sex discrimination. There had been bitter campaigns in many jurisdictions, with every court case won, but many results overturned at the ballot box and civil partnerships were often handed out as a second-class substitute in the face of such legal situations (for example in Hawai’i and Vermont). Massachusetts was legally marrying. The fact that only equal access to marriage could answer the case for equality under the law was obvious.

    It would have been easy to make that case here, but no effort was made, and the UK media maintained an odd silence in contrast to wild exposure of any (legally meaningless but opposition-stoking) “pink wedding” they could find or sponsor.

    But anyone, anywhere, advocating less than equal access to marriage was clearly, by then, not a beliver in equality and had to be suspect. In parliament, UK government speakers made very clear that what they were enacting was based on their religious beliefs. A shadow figure, who never spoke was the minister responsible for the birth, deaths and marriage registers and the registrars – Opus Dei adherent and cilice-wearer, Ruth Kelly. Baroness Scotland was prominent on legal matters in the Lords.

    I trust everyone remembers that Papal policy is against same-sex marriage at any price, and that Opus Dei is the papacy’s most ardent supporters. We also had our most Roman Catholic prime minister in centuries, who frequently talked with the Pope, who is obsessive on sexual minorities.

    Summerskill is a life-long Labour insider and would work with rather than against a Labour government.

    It was the minimum they could do in the face of the obligation under judgment in the European Court of Human Rights Goodwin-v-UK case which obligated the UK to have arrangements to recognise that sex reassignment surgery is a change of sex. This was going to create several same-sex marriages unless they invented some other status into which they could force such couples and which they could argue was sufficiently like marriage to be within their “margin of appreciation”. By following the example of right-wing legislators in the USA and providing civil partnerships they could, with the same stone, deal with the emotive and high profile instances of gay partners losing their homes after a partner died. Thus the Gender Recognition and Civil Partnership bills went through parliament as if hand-in-hand. Trans people were not consulted on civil partnerships but were told the huge proportion of their bill devoted to preventing same-sex marriages was because the government was totally set against any such thing. Somehow LGB people mostly imagined the government was giving them the most it could in the face of opposition, and bandied the term marriage, and wedding, around like confetti as if there was no difference.

    Summerskill’s predecessor, Angela Mason, since a top government equality person in a succession of roles, would never even discuss marriage. Her background might predispose her to see same-sex marriage as undesirable aping of a heterosexual institution that oppresses women, yada, yada, yada…

    Does Stonewall see same-sex marriage as ever desirable? In a long and serious political interview on BBCTv last year, one of Stonewall’s founding inner-circle, actor Simon Callow, could think of no objective yet to be achieved but to end homophobic bullying (and that was in Scotland where Stonewall claims to represent trans people too). On the other hand, Sir Ian Mckellen, who may have been the very first instigator of the launching of Stonewall, has explicitly said he sees no excuse why there should not be equal access to marriage, but he never mentions Stonewall in the same context. So I guess that means it is not on Stonewall’s agenda, ever.

    Thus Stonewall announcing its intention of removing one of the complaints about civil partnerships – that creating them in religious premises is illegal – has to be seen as again trying to undermine the case, and pressure for equal access to marriage. That is especially the case since it would disarm the Quaker intention to celebrate same- and opposite-sex couples equally.

  78. Sorry, typos. I replied to Andrew, and Baehr v. Lewin, marking the start of same-sex marriage as a achievable right, was 1993

  79. Andrew, your heroes campaigned for inequality and we got inequality, I know you cannot engage with reality but that’s your problem not anyone elses.

  80. Angelica, yet again you are hijacking a civil exchange with personal insults. How dare you accuse me, a complete stranger, of any attribute, be it an inability to engage with reality or therwise. You are now reduced to repeating the same statement over and over again, linked to some insult or other; not very impressive. I am not crawling into your gutter to engage you there.

    And if that is my problem, I am pleased to have it. I am also pleased to have my Civil Partnership, which you so glibly dismeiss as an institution and I suspect many others are also.

    Since we clearly have different standards of polite communication I will now ignore you in the future. Insult away, I am not here to read it. You will be shouting into an empty room.

  81. People here may be interested to sign a petition to the Prime Minister on the Downing Street site:

    | We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to introduce
    | Marriage Equality.
    | We ask the Prime Minister to bring in equality for all British
    | citizens regardless of sexual orientation with regards to
    | Marriage. This means extending the rights of same sex couples to
    | become legally married as is legal in Canada, Belgium, 5 states
    | of the USA, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain and South
    | Africa. Civil Partnerships should also be open to heterosexual
    | couples who do not necessarily want to get married.
    | Equal but different is NOT equality. Love is Love.

    Some homophobic and sexist idiot at No.10 has labeled the page “Gay marriage”

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