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Gordon Brown ‘pushing for European recognition of British civil partnerships’

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  1. But Spain has same-sex marriage! Does Britain recognise that? If so, it sounds fantastic… we can go to Spain to get married and have our honeymoons while we’re there.

  2. Why doesn’t he push for same sex marriage in our country first, before trying to spread anything elsewhere?

  3. I agree Sammy. Start by making it a marriage and the rest will fall into place.

  4. Pete & Michael 15 Dec 2009, 5:48pm

    As we have stated on this website previously Civil Partnerships performed in the UK are not recognised outside this country. In Spain whilst on holiday we were discriminated against by the hotel we were ‘unlucky’ to stay in! If Civil Partnerships/Same Sex Marriage been recognised, perhaps we may have had restitution.

  5. To the comment left by Pete & Michael. Are you aware that hotels cannot discriminate against homosexual couples (unmarried/un ‘civil partnered’ or married/civil partnered)? This applies to every country in Europe as it is EU law under Human Rights Act.

  6. Look at who was interviewing Gordy and for which magazine. I smell a desperate politician making feel-good noises in order to pick up votes from a minority whom he used to take for granted. I don’t doubt his pro-gay past record, but these pronouncements smack of desperation.

  7. To Anon,

    EU law has nothing to do with the Human Rights Act. You’re referring to the provision of goods and services directive from the European Commission.

  8. But what about British MARRIAGE!?!?!?!

  9. Gordon Brown 15 Dec 2009, 8:28pm

  10. Tim Hopkins 15 Dec 2009, 8:45pm

    Gavin is right, and because the proposed EU goods and services Directive has not yet been agreed by the EU, it is not in effect. So discrimination by hotels on grounds of sexual orientation is only unlawful in countries which ban it in their own national laws, as for example the UK and Ireland do.

    In contrast, discrimination in employment and vocational training, on grounds of sexual orientation, is banned across the EU, by a Directive that came into effect some years ago.

  11. What about gay marriage over here?

  12. Stop the Aid 15 Dec 2009, 11:53pm

    So no good news on the aid situation in Uganda. Maybe we should ask Mandy to go over and sort out this problem, I’m sure he could. He may not get out alive though.

  13. Stop the Aid 15 Dec 2009, 11:55pm

    Ps. I read some time ago that France had agreed to recognise our CPs. Is that still not finalised?

  14. Patrick James 15 Dec 2009, 11:57pm


    As a Labour Party kind of a guy I agree with those comments that the Labour Party should be pushing for full marriage for lesbian and gay men in the UK.

    However several other issues have arisen in the interview as reported here.

    Getting our civil partnerships recognised in Spain and France is obviously important but I do think that Gordon Brown has recognised the real fight that is ahead for LGBT people in Europe.

    That is of course, Eastern Europe, where homophobia is frequently deeply entrenched.

    For academic reasons I study Eastern Europe (as well as having a personal interest anyway) and the country of most interest to me is Romania.

    I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Romania and I know very well that it is very difficult to be LGBT there.

    I grew up in Northern Ireland (which of course has much homophobia) and when I’m in Romania it reminds me of Northern Ireland in this regard, but very much worse.

    In Bucharest there are very few bars or clubs for LGBT people. There is one I know of but it is in a back alley, there is no sign at all at the door, to find out about it you have to phone a special telephone number.

    Bucharest is a city of 2 million people and that is the whole story. In the whole of Romania, a country of 20 million, I know of only one other bar which is in a town called Constanta on the black sea. This is tiny, trust me, and only open in the summer. Needless to say it is completely hidden. It would be very difficult to be out at work or anything like that in Romania.

    Okay, so, enough about Romania.

    It is good to travel to Eastern Europe and to see how it really is for LGBT people who live there.

    Of the various things the Conservative Party has been up to the one which offends me the most is their new tiny European Parliamentary grouping which includes the Polish Law and Justice Party. This has resulted in a huge increase in esteem for this extreme right wing and deeply homophobic party. As this European grouping is so small it highlights a close relationship with the Conservative Party and the Law and Justice Party. Needless to say in Poland the Law and Justice Party makes great use of this. Amongst the many extreme right wing parties of Eastern Europe this comes as a massive endorsement of their cause. Fortunately these political parties tend to be small but they must not be given the kind of support that the Conservative Party is effectively giving the Law and Justice Party.

    For many LGBT people in Eastern Europe life is as it was in the UK in the 50s or 60s. They must remain totally closeted and meet surreptitiously, if at all. Although they often have modern legislation the societies are very much in the grip of religion often at its most homophobic in nature.

    If you are unhappy with the Labour Party then I can understand that, but please do not vote Conservative at the forthcoming general election. There are other good socially progressive alternatives to Labour such as the Lib/Dems or the Green party for example.

    You must let the Conservative Party know that its activities with this small European Parliamentary grouping are completely unacceptable.

    To vote Conservative is simply to kick in the teeth LGBT people who very much need our help.

  15. Maybe the French don’t recognise CP’s Gordo because they have full gay equal marriage not second rate CP’s!

    I am totally disgusted that Gordon feels its OK for LGBT people to be locked up or murdered in Uganda without any punitive measures against its government.

    Its seems Gordo feels LGBT peoples basic human rights don’t matter and that’s why my vote is heading for the Lib Dems.

  16. I though CPs were now recognised in Spain; even our spanish solicitor was aware of this. We’ve had ours translated into spanish and stamped by a notary.

  17. it would be best for marriage to be open for all as civil partnerships are a concession to the homophobes

  18. Fernando Jose Soares 16 Dec 2009, 10:46am

    Negotiating deals with France and Spain? He is not very well informed…..maybe he is talking about details as CPs are recognised in Frane (article 515-7-1) BUT each department has to have instructions from the relevant minister saying what to do.France….lots of paper work,stamps,……

  19. My partner and I have been together 26 years, we have lived 12 years of that time in Spain. Full Gay Marriage was legalised here a couple of years back, all the more remarkable when you consider the strong Catholic heritage of this country. We however decide not to undertake a full Marriage even though we could have, we decide to have a Spanish CP called a PAREJAS DE HECHO. This has all the same legal registration and recognition as well as the tax benefits of a marriage and as with marriage would need be to be legally annulled should we decide to separate.

    The CP certificate has to be signed by the local Mayor in the town you are registered as resident, in our case Mijas, in fact the certificate was delivered to our door by a very good looking local policeman. The local police are a department of the municipal town hall in Spain.

    We decided we did not want the pubic ceremony of a full marriage and were happy with the private simple registration of the PAREJAS DE HECHO. We had to go to the Malaga British Consulate to sign an affidavits of our single statues (for which they charged over €300,the CP was free) and along with some other legal documents we had to present ourselves to the public registrars department at the Town Hall to sign the legal partnership document.

    When we asked at the British Consulate if the Spanish CP would be recognised as a legal CP in Britain should we decide to return to the UK the Vise Consul told us he did not know, but he would recommend that we undertake a British CP if we return as that was the only way we could be sure of our legal status in the UK.

    Equality still has a long way to go!

  20. marriage you moron. marriage!

  21. The problem is that you simply cannot believe a word that Brown says, he lies with a fluency and ease that most reasonably people would find embarrasing and he has a pathological unstable inability to recgonise his many, many mistakes.

    The fact is he knows he is facing a crushing defeat at the next election and he will spew out any amount of new dishonest nonsense to diminish the severity.

  22. Brian Burton 16 Dec 2009, 3:25pm

    Vulpus Rex,
    Stow it you Brazen Hussy, Gobbies like you will harm your cause but I expect you are too stupid to comprehend that. Keep it shut about marrage too!!!

  23. Tony Stewart 16 Dec 2009, 3:26pm

    The EU should do it’s job and legalise gay marriage throughout the E.U. Isn’t that what it is for for this kind of thing. Why leave it to individual nations, push the legislation through and make us proud to be in Europe.

  24. Spain already recognizes the UK Civil Partnerships. I know because I am American and they give me residencia based on my CP to a UK citizen. But we already know that Brown is way out of touch with the real world.

  25. Aussie Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 17 Dec 2009, 12:57pm

    I know of a problem with this:

    Number 1: Relationship recognition models in Europe are all different, for example France has PACS, Germany has Life partnership, UK have civil partnership, Swizerland and Hungary have relationship registration (soon Austria as well) – How do you recognise them all????

    Number 2: UK civil partnership includes both parentage and adoption while France has PACS without both adoption and parentage – How do recognise that????

    And Number 3: The EU can recognise – but can not enforce the recognition of relationships when they are all different.

    I know one way – LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE, Remember “marriage” is recognised in all cultures and countries on Earth, marriage will provide consistant recognition of relationships without looking twice and see that it is really marriage that makes the world go round!!!!!

    * The “C” word – “Civil union” is NOT civil at all – it is second class citizenship which is not on coming into 2010!!!!!!!
    * The “M” word – “Marriage is very civil in terms of recognition, respect and reconnecting (remember the three Rs we were taught at school)!!!!

    I have a little saying: “consistancy, consistancy, consistancy!!!!!!”

    “Civil unions are not civil at all, in fact they reinforce second class citizenship which is not on at all for us gays coming into 2010!”

  26. Robert, ex pat Brit 18 Dec 2009, 2:15pm

    Tsuchan…..our government does NOT recognise the marriages of British gay couples or foreign same-sex marriages for what they are no matter if they marry in the EU member states of Spain, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Norway or Sweden. Instead, it will only recognise them as civil partnerships which they are not of course. Conversely, none of those countries recognise civil partnerships as marriages, and rightly so. The only way to have universal recognition is to mandate full civil marriage across the EU (something it cannot yet do), eliminating the inequalities that all of these non-marriage unions convey. In the British case, if civil partnerships are indeed equal to marriage, then why can’t straight couples opt for them, those who don’t want to get married? Makes no sense. An absolutely absurd situation.

    Regarding France’s limited PACs unions, France is negotiating right now to recognise their British counterpart, but…..remember….PACs and the rest of the mish-mash of varying degrees of legal unions elsewhere in the EU don’t have identical rights, so Brown’s effort to have CPs recognised is meaningless. Imagin a British civil partnered couple residing in France where PACs don’t provide one half of the rights that CPs do. There’s no parity in the EU on any of this, so I think Brown’s recommendation is going nowhere fast. I don’t support it.

  27. I’m glad he’s come about with a positive statement like that and that there is a realisation that Brits move around the world and take their civil status with them. With the mish mash of civil unions around the world there is cetainly a problem. Indeed France has recognised gay marriages but hadn’t recognised foreign civl unions – perhpas we should have called our CP a mariage and perhpas there would have been a problem. Anyway what deals with France and Spain , most gay press including pinknews have reported that CPs were recognised in these countries – Article 515-7-1 in the French civil code recognises all foreign civil unions since may 2009 – so what deals exactly is doing with France? I wish there was better reporting of these things. Also does anybody actually now what countries do and do not recognise the British CP. I haven’t found any list anywhere on the FCO which tells you. Why mention France and Spain what about Holland, Germany etc , do they recognise us

  28. Sarah Teather MP raised this problem in the house of commons but got a rather disappointing answer
    “23 Feb 2009 : Column 341W

    Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in which overseas countries civil partnerships entered into in the UK are recognised. [255826]
    Maria Eagle: The Government do not hold definitive information on which overseas countries recognise UK civil partnerships, or under what terms. The laws of other countries are subject to change without notice, and in some cases can be ambiguous.
    We are aware of the difficulties UK civil partners living in countries where their legal relationship status is not recognised can face, and where appropriate, we are working with those countries to achieve recognition.”

    Your article states
    “Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday he was pushing for gay civil partnerships in Britain to be recognised across the EU, especially in eastern Europe.

    Brown told gay magazine Attitude that Britain was negotiating deals with France and Spain but wanted to extend recognition for civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples to eastern Europe”

    Firstly, how is the Prime Minister able to do this when the government is unable to say which countries recognise the British Civil Partnership?

    Secondly, why does the Prime Minister single out France and Spain when Baroness Kinnock says France recognise the British civil partnership

    “2 July 2009 : Column WA67
    Civil Partnerships
    Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill
    To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 23 October 2008 (WA 119), whether, following the amendment to French law adopted by the Sénat on 28 April, parties to a civil partnership formed under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 will henceforth enjoy the same rights under French law as couples who have concluded a pacte civil de solidarité. [HL4636]
    The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The French Government have confirmed to us that, with effect from 14 May 2009 when the amendment passed into French law, parties to a civil partnership formed under the British Civil Partnership Act 2004 now enjoy equivalent legal status under French law to couples who have concluded a pacte civil de solidarité. ”

    Can the Prime Minister not get his facts rights and actually tell us what countries do and do not recognise the British civil partnership

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