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Coalition government urged to grant full marriage equality

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  1. Much as I support Thatchell, I do wish he’d stop calling us queers.

  2. The question of allowing gay people full marriage equality is the litmus test for the new government, gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has argued.

    Unfortunately he doesn’t argue it very well and he certainly hasn’t even come close to making the case that it is “an elephant in the room”.

    What we already have is perfectly equitable. That isn’t to say that full marriage equality isn’t something to be addressed further down the line; but right now there are far more important issues of equity to be tackled .. including homophobic bullying, striking of convictions for historic gay sex offences and more protection to gay asylum seekers.

    In the order of pressing priorities, full marriage equality hasn’t even found its way onto my peripheral vision and Peter Tatchell certainly hasn’t convinced me that it should have.

  3. It is not quite correct to say that CPs give “all the rights and benefits available to straight married couples”.

    Firstly, CPs may not automatically be recognised in other countries which permit same-sex marriage, whereas marriage would be. This is a significant issue for some couples. While the coalition has promised to work on international CP recognition, upgrading to marriage would simplify the international recognition problem. Secondly, there are differences in the pension due to a surviving partner if some of the deceased’s pension entitlement was accrued before 1988 (although some schemes pay out the full amount anyway). Thirdly, one of the “benefits” of marriage is the name and the respect society attaches to marriage. As long as CPs have a different name, it gives the impression that it is a lesser institution, and also makes it easier for future governments to create additional differences in the legal treatment of the two structures.

  4. Paul, Liverpool 15 Jun 2010, 2:29pm

    But Adster, bullying is a serious issue to be dealt with, but it’s no good teaching children & young people that gay and straight people are equal in the eyes of the law when we are quite obviously NOT! It has taken the gay rights movement more than 40 years to get us where we are today and full marriage equality cannot come soon enough! All these weak promises by David Cameron are unacceptable, he is majorly out of touch with the British public. All this rubbish about “considering the case” and “not planning to make changes” will simply not do. It shows complete and utter ambivalence to full equality. What has happened to the political campaigning aspects in our Pride events? We are resting far too much on our laurels at the moment, and forget the fact that as tax paying citizens we are still being treated as second class. If the govt don’t wish to “let” me marry my partner as all my straight friends and family take for granted, then lower my taxes!

  5. Paul .. as far as I am concerned, we ARE equal when it comes to partnerships. The ability to use the word ‘marriage’ isn’t even an equality issue for me.

    As for your tragic outburst about taxes, you seem totally oblivious to the FACT that a civil partnership already gives you ALL the tax benefits of marriage.

  6. I totally agree with atalanta, me and my boyfriend plan to CP next year, and well, we already joke about calling each other ‘husband’ but, well, we wont be. We feel like just a normal couple like any other the world over, but of course with a CP we wont be. I want to be able to call us married not ‘we’re in a civil partnership’.

  7. vulpus_rex 15 Jun 2010, 2:45pm

    Whilst I wouldn’t want to hetero-normalize my relationship, if it makes some gay people feel better about their own relationship by cloning what heterosexual couples do then who am I to stop them.

    It is perfectly possible however to envisage a state sanctioned same sex union that has all the benefits and rights of heterosexual union without having to resort to the essentially heterosxual concept of marriage.

  8. “Britain’s largest gay charity Stonewall says civil partnerships are adequate”

    How did the self-hating, career-gays at Stonewall reach that conclusion?

    I don’t remember them ever undertaking ANY research among the wider LGBT community for input on Stonewall’s agenda.

    Stonewall ONLY acts on behalf of their 30,000 members (about 1% of the LGBT population).

    Tatchell is 100% correct.

    If LGBT people are fully equal under the eyes of the law then there is ABSOLUTELY NO JUSTIFICATION on earth why same sex couples are denied equal access to the legal contract of civil marriage purely because we are gay.

    And for Stonwall to claim that we be satisfied with the sexual apartheid regime of civil partnerships makes them look homophobic, out of touch, irrelevant and opportunistic.

    Stonewall needs to either get with the equality agenda or disband.

  9. The Netherlands
    Belgium
    Canada
    South Africa
    Spain
    Sweden
    Norway
    Portugal
    Iceland
    6 states in the US
    Mexico City
    Part of Argentine

  10. Patrick James 15 Jun 2010, 3:07pm

    I think Peter Tatchell is playing this one rather well.

    The marriage issue is about saying that LGBT relationships are equitable with heterosexual relationships.

    That is why I feel it is important.

    As a Labour guy I feel is is very bad that this final piece of equality was left undone however it is up to the new parliament to bring about this equality.

    During the Labour administration we did see huge progress in terms of LGBT equality, it put the awful situation prior to 1997 behind us.

    All of that equality legislation was opposed by the Conservatives in opposition.

    So now there is one job to be done. The Conservatives have been telling us over and over again how much they have changed. There is an opportunity now for them to prove this. To show they really have changed and actual do something for LGBT people.

  11. Paul, Liverpool 15 Jun 2010, 3:08pm

    Oh for peet sake, yes we get all the same tax benefits, but I know a lesbian couple who married in Canada and upon returning to the UK their marriage has been relegated to a CP! Why should their relationship be relegated by our law just because they are gay? They made a commitment to eachother in a marriage and that’s how it should be respected. Guys, we are being discriminated against, simple as, it’s not about aping the heteros or feeling better about ourselves, we are being treated as second class, at least that’s how David Cameron is treating us at the moment, and he should be held accountable for it!

    Until our blood is considered good enough to donate and we are able to walk down the aisle like our straight friends can, we cannot kiss goodbye to 477 years of discrimination. It’s about time the religious right were told exactly where to go!

  12. Gay people are denied access to civil marriage because of their sexuality.
    Straight people are denied access to civil partnership because of their sexuality.

    ‘Separate but equal’ is not true equality regardless how the homophobes at Stonewall or in the Tories and Labour try to justify it.

  13. vulpus_rex 15 Jun 2010, 3:19pm

    Just out of interest Simon, do you actually have a partner you are desparate to marry, or is your zeal for marriage motivated purely by altruism?

  14. silly billy 15 Jun 2010, 3:23pm

    I wait with bated breath to see what DC’s short speech might contain. Hope Norman Tebbit has been invited too. He wore a lovely line in pyjamas if I remember rightly.

  15. No 13: “Just out of interest Simon, do you actually have a partner you are desparate to marry, or is your zeal for marriage motivated purely by altruism?”

    I am legally married (except in Britain it’s not recognised as a marriage).

  16. My husband and I have been PACS’d in France, married in California and then had our marriage lowered to a CP here in the UK. There is only one kind of marriage and that is one recognized as such by the law of the land. Name one other group who has to settle for a second class “just as good” institution. It is domination by a religious minority against the will of the majority. The government needs to to recognize that the CofE and tha papists don’t rule this country!

  17. vulpus_rex 15 Jun 2010, 3:48pm

    LOL – Where did you do it and let’s see the photos then!

  18. What’s so funny about that?

    Amsterdam – my husband is Dutch.

  19. Tim Hopkins 15 Jun 2010, 3:53pm

    The discussions here on marriage equality seem sometimes to go round in circles! But the balance of views seems to be similar to Equality Network’s recent survey of 430 LGBT people (mostly in Scotland).

    Some said they don’t want marriage for themselves – they prefer civil partnership. But most believe that a segregated system cannot be full equality. After all, the actual reason we got civil partnership was not because the Govt understood that some of us prefer it to marriage – it was to satisfy the Church of England and others who would not stand for us getting marriage itself in 2004.

    In our survey, 6% thought the law on civil partnership is fine as it is. 8% thought it would be fine when the Equality Act amendment allowing religious CP ceremonies comes into effect (assuming a similar amendment for Scotland). The other 85% thought that marriage needs to be opened to same-sex couples, and two thirds of those thought that CP should be opened to mixed-sex couples also.

    54% said that this is a high priority for the Equality Network to campaign for, and 31% said it’s a medium priority (11% said low priority, and 4% said that it doesn’t matter at all).

    We base our work on consulting with LGBT people as well as on the principles of equality and human rights, and we’re clear from this survey and other consultation that equal marriage is something we should be actively working on now.

  20. No 19: Tim Hopkins: you say:

    “In our survey … the other 85% thought that marriage needs to be opened to same-sex couples, and two thirds of those thought that CP should be opened to mixed-sex couples also. 54% said that this is a high priority for the Equality Network to campaign for, and 31% said it’s a medium priority (11% said low priority, and 4% said that it doesn’t matter at all).”

    Which begs the question again.

    Who is Stonewall representing and where are they getting their fictional claims that marriage equality is not important.

    Stonewall are a bunch of self-hating homophobes who need to change their agenda or disband because of their irrelevancy.

    In the meantime send Stonewall a message asking them why they are opposed to LGBT equality.

    They can be reached as follows:

    Stonewall
    Address:
    Tower Building
    York Road
    London SE1 7NX

    Info Line: 08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am to 5:30pm)
    For all information and resource requests and enquiries about Stonewall.

    Office (admin): 020 7593 1850
    Fax: 020 7593 1877
    Minicom: 020 7633 0759

    Email: info@stonewall.org.uk

  21. vulpus_rex 15 Jun 2010, 4:03pm

    It amused me as from the little one can tell of another person via what they post on the internet, I never imagined you doing something so prosaic as getting married.

    Anyway I’m very happy for you.

  22. 1of18000 if its any consolation Cameroon has stated that when referring to marriage he is including civil partnerships in that so on that basis if it means so much to you to be able to ape the heterosexual world you can probably use the word marriage under the new government.

    For anyone with a bit more self confidence about their sexuality and self respect for who they are, they can still use the term ‘civil partnership’

  23. SteveMD2 in USA/HSA 15 Jun 2010, 4:10pm

    Letss not forget that CPs in Great Britain also affect other nations – eg Britain becomes a role model. Full marriage equality is THE perfecct example to help drive it my country, the Homophobic states of America.

    And yes I do agree that bullying and general teaching about the terrible effects of homophobia is needed In the HSA, about 25% of all kids who come out are thrown out by their families. Its called “moral values” here -By some churches who always need someone to hate to sell their “love”.

    Bottom line – GB can be another example for the world.

  24. I am raised American but dual national (UK/USA). My partner is here in the UK on a spousal visa with me (he’s just US citizen) because the UK recognized our dinky little piecemeal Domestic Partnership from a State in the US (which only conferred 4 rights, btw). It’s amazing to me that the UK recognizes our relationship even though the US does not. But do not become complacent with just Civil Partnership or underestimate semiotics. While countries all over Europe are finally passing marriage equality, we are being passed up. Marriage Equality in the UK will have great repercussions in the English-speaking world (particularly the USA), the commonwealth, and across the EU.

    What’s more amazing to me is that Stonewall thinks “it’s enough”. That organization should be brought to its knees. Both Civil Marriage and Civil Partnership need to be made gender neutral.

  25. Jose, it’s more about teaching the next generation of gays and straights about respect for themselves and others, than it is about my self-confidence. Again, name another group who is relegated to second-class status in marriage.

  26. My partner and I have never aspired to the somewhat broken model that is marriage.
    We much prefer to have our civil partnership and have never understood way LGBT people should ‘ape’ a failing institution.

  27. Mihangel apYrs 15 Jun 2010, 5:16pm

    Ian Bower (et al)

    “marriage” is considered the “gold standard” of domestic partnership, and is a universally recognised relationship. While SSM isn’t recognised as widely as we’d like, at least the deniers know what is meant: civil partnership can be considered to be a house-share, a sibling co-habitation etc etc, i.e. it is an invented thing to meet the aspirations of the gay community while appeasing the religious opponents

  28. The best thing to do, if you are in favour of full same sex civil marriage, is to write to your MP. Find out their name and write to them at;
    House of Commons
    London SW1A 0AA

    You can also write to Nick Clegg at the above address.

    The fact is Civil Partnerships aren’t recognised outside the UK, so those of us married to non British nationals face problems not faced by those in same sex marriages elsewhere in the world. At least their marriages are recognised in the other countries which have same sex marriage.

    Additionally, while school children see that we have a special version of marriage, they will always treat us differently.

    Full, same sex civil marriage is the only way.

  29. MartinM Nos. 8 and 9, exactly right!

    Adster No. 2…..that’s all well and find if you have an insular view of the world to the exclusion of the rest. Whereas, CPs are NEVER going to be the norm for gay people around the world as we’ve clearly seen from MartinM’s list of countries offering full equality. If a British gay couple in a civil partnership were to settle in France for whatever reason, they would only enjoy the rights of the French version (PACs) which offer far less than the British model, even though the French government now recognises CPS, but not all of the rights inherent in CPs are offered under the French system. Where’s the equality in that? All of this nonsense about having CP’s recognised across the EU isn’t going to happen unless there is one uniform union for all gays in member states. So far,five member states allow us to marry,one (the UK) offers only civil partnerships and Ireland will mimic them with slightly fewer rights; Norway and Iceland will eventually make it seven once they join the EU. Then we have Canada, South Africa, five states in America, Mexico City and part of Argentina, maybe all if pending legislation passses. It is absurd to expect civil partnerships to be the norm for gays, that simply won’t happen because they are by far outnumbered by states that allow us to marry. The simplest and most equal way to resolve the mish mash of different same-sex unions in the EU is to open civil marriage to us, nothing else can remedy it. There is absolutely NO reason why the ban on our marrying shouldn’t be lifted if either party is truly committed to full equality. Peter Tatchell is absolutely right about that. Those of you who don’t want marriage, have you ever asked yourselves why nine countries have abandoned civil unions/patnerships for full marriage? The obvious conclusion is that they were never equal and neither are CPs. Just because some are content with CPs, doesn’t justify not supporting the rights of others who want to marry. StonewallUK has failed dismally on that one and isn’t at all intersted in full equality. It does not speak for all of us and neither does Cameron.

  30. Ian Bower, No. 26, and what will you say when you start to see more civil partnerships dissolve? Another broken institution? It already is. That’s no excuse to deny the rest of us the freedom and right to full equality. Your civil partnership is based on heteroseuxal marriage anyway, so there will be just as many CPs breaking up as there are marriages. Just because you don’t want to get married, why should youa and others like you not be supportive of those who do? I don’t want to ban CPs, I just want the ban on civil marriage lifted and the ban on straights who don’t want to marry but form a civil partnership. What is so wrong with that?

  31. Bill Perdue 15 Jun 2010, 6:52pm

    Civil partnerships are second class partnerships. GLBT folks aren’t second class and we should have the right to get married like everyone else.

  32. Bill, No. 31, again, I absolutely concur, its as simple as that. There is no rational or logical argument for not lifting the ban, none. Now it does beg the question, had the British government enacted civil marriage equality instead of civil partnerships, would it be safe to assume that the naysayers against marriage equality would not want to marry their partners? I suppose they wouldn’t.

  33. I am reminded of a previous post about separate drinking fountains for blacks and whites in the Deep South in the 60s. Same water coming out of both.

    The apartheid of the example is shocking. CPs and marriage is the same. We need civil marriage because of those who would deny us it. Until we are equal under the law, we don’t stand a chance of ending the school bullying.

    Now, Stonewall, get with the programme please and catch up with Peter T.

  34. To quote Robert: ‘Just because you don’t want to get married, why should you and others like you not be supportive of those who do?’

    Erm, escuse me, nowhere did I say that. I am completely for equality. I very much support the right for LGBT people to marry a same sex partner. I just think that the ‘marriage’ role model and associated terminology (wife-husband, traditional roles of the wife/husband etc.) is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    I could talk in-depth about this but here isn’t the right place.

  35. Patrick James 15 Jun 2010, 9:34pm

    I don’t believe that David Cameron changed his mind radically about the world and became progressive in outlook. I think he is simply an opportunist who always says what each audience wants to hear.

    However whatever he is, if he were to legalise marriage for LGBT people he had better do it soon.

    Vultures have been spotted. They are still far away but they are getting close and it is Cameron’s body they are interested in.

    No doubt most here will be aware of the News of the World story about “Lord” Ashcroft’s new book.

    It looks like Cashcroft doesn’t feel he got his money’s worth.

    I think that in his desperation to win the general election Cameron has promised everything to all around him.

    Unfortunately they are all coming now for their share of the winnings be it power in the UK’s government, or some chunk of the UK’s assets.

    Cameron didn’t actually win the election of course so its likely he can’t deliver as easily to his benefactors.

    They won’t like that.

    Personally I think that the one benefactor he has to keep happy is Murdoch. Cameron knows that he needs Murdoch’s massive press support. To keep Murdoch Cameron has to destroy the tradition of objectivity in broadcasting by undermining Ofcom and of course he must make significant inroads into the BBC.

    If it begins to look like he can’t deliver this to Murdoch he will be finished.

    Even if he does deliver for Murdoch will the others he has promised X, Y and Z to have his head anyway in the coming months?

    For whatever reasons the vultures are to be seen on the horizon and so Cameron would have to process legislation soon on equality for LGBT people in marriage.

    Personally I don’t think Cameron could give a toss about equality for LGBT people, instead it will be fulfilling the requirements of Murdoch and Co. that will be occupying his mind.

  36. Sister Mary Clarance 16 Jun 2010, 1:33am

    “He wore a lovely line in pyjamas if I remember rightly”

    sillybilly, I take it that little quip is a reference to the Brighton bombing in 1984 that killed 5 people and left a number, including Norman Tebbit’s wife permanently and seriously disabled.

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term ‘bad taste’ but possibly you should be.

    Oh, and Patrick James, how much more of your bitterness have we got to endure? remind yourself please that Labour were absolutely set against same sex marriages.

  37. “Peter Tatchell said the law banning gay couples from having civil marriages was the “last homophobic law in the UK”.

    I don’t think it is a homophobic law in the slightest. If anything, it is theophobic. Politicians are just terrified of pissing off the church.

    As for this crap about “heteronormalising”, isn’t that just another word for “equality”? I thought the whole goal of gay rights was to level out the playing field so were all just the same. As for the CP / Marriage thing, some people might like to shout about their status / lifestyle / sexuality etc, but many of us don’t. If I am asked to give my marital status, I would like to say “Married”, and nobody would be any the wiser, whereas, if I say “Civil Partnership”, it is quite obvious to all that my partner is not of the fairer sex. (Actually, he is quite fair, but that’s another matter… ;) )

  38. I’ve just noticed something else: Our cutting edge reporter Ms. Geen has got it wrong again regarding the differences between CP and Marriage. The two points she made are regarding the ceremonies themselves, but there are two legal ones as well:

    * Civil Partnerships do not have to be consummated.

    * CP partners do not have to live under the same roof.

  39. BobbetStillTheSame 16 Jun 2010, 3:38am

    That’s what I’ve been saying. This government is focused only in milking the sick and poor to give to the well and rich. The apartheid problem is not even in their peripheral vision.

  40. BobbetStillTheSame 16 Jun 2010, 3:42am

    It would be very interesting to see a big and loud marriage equality protest, right in front of Downing St, to coincide with Dave Chameleon’s gay (d)eception.

  41. What happens when someone gets ‘married’ in another country? Is it recognised as marriage here, or what.

  42. Mihangel apYrs 16 Jun 2010, 7:17am

    Dave
    their marriage becomes a civil partnership

  43. It’s not aping straight people to want gay marriage. That’s as stupid as saying that a straight woman who wants to marry must want to be ruled by her husband ‘because marriage is a 19th century institution’. It’s also insulting to straight people as it implies they’re all the same and their marriages all follow the same pattern.

    Quite simply it’s wrong that we’re excluded from marriage because of who we are. It’s irrelevant whether you personally want to get married – it’s the gross injustice of the current system. I’m not black, but if there was a law saying that black people had to have CPs and weren’t permitted to marry, I’d be shouting against it just as much. It’s more than self-interest, it’s the discrimination and subtle – or not so subtle – implication that we’re not quite as good as other people.

    There’s absolutely NO reason why gay people shouldn’t marry if they choose to. I don’t care whether CPs are ‘just the same’ as marriage. The whole idea of having something separate is offensive.

  44. It’s a minor point, but our solicitor told us that our California marriage is RECOGNIZED as a CP. We don’t have a CP registered in the UK. One thing I don’t understand. In the US, the politicians always fall back on the fact that a majority of Americans are opposed to SS marriage. Here, a majority support SS marriage. How do the politicians opposed support their stands?

  45. Sister Mary Clarance 16 Jun 2010, 10:22am

    Dave, yep they become equal to civil partnerships in the UK, which are in turn equal to marriages … dah-dah!!!

    Bit of a circular argument as far as I’m concerned, when frankly there are more important equality issues to get our teeth into.

  46. Mihangel apYrs 16 Jun 2010, 10:40am

    SMC

    honey: we’re gay, we can multi-task!

  47. “Here, a majority support SS marriage. How do the politicians opposed support their stands? ”

    They can’t – hence their refusal to properly address the question.

  48. Mihangel apYrs: “honey: we’re gay, we can multi-task!”

    You mean you can walk AND chew gum at the same time?

  49. In the Netherlands a same-sex couple or an opposite sex couple can enter a civil marriage.

    In the Netherlands a same-sex couple or an opposite sex couple, or 2 flatmates can enter a civil partnership.

    It’s worth remembering that this is not the case in Britain.

    The reason civil partnership exists in Britain is solely due to the fact that gay couples are denied access to civil marriage.

    Campaigning to the Tories or the LibDems or Labour on this issue is clearly very important so they realise that Stonewall are not representing the LGBT population in the manner they are pretending to. And that the community expects equality and are not happy with a ‘separate but equal’ status.

    Most of my disgust is reserved for Stonewall though. Talk about an utterly useless ‘equality’ organisation. They are the ‘go to’ LGB group for the government.

    Yet they are opposed to legal equality for LGB people because of our sexual orientation.

    That is homophobia. Regardless of how you try to dress it up it remains homophobia.

    Some people may not feel passionate or interested in marriage equality and feel that civil partnership apartheid is sufficient.

    Well that’s fair enough. Those people are the type of people who would have been satisifed with women over the age of 30 being granted the vote after World War 1, while men could vote over the age of 21.

    For me it is a matter of principle. How can I expect to be treated fairly in life if people know that the government and Stonewall think it is acceptable to discriminate against me.

  50. Mihangel apYrs 16 Jun 2010, 1:42pm

    Spanner
    I can do more than that….

  51. No. 44 1of1800….the reason why our backward government(s) refuse to recognise a legal same-sex marriage performed outside the country in more progressive societies is that if they did, it would open the floodgates to allow us to marry which they and many gay apologists for them don’t want because they really don’t believe in FULL equality, aided and abetted by anti equality StonewallUK. They’re in denial of course. They are NOT equal to marriage, no law in the land has made that official and if they were, they wouldn’t be called something else. Successive governments may regard them in the same light but in law, they are not and never will be. The naysayers on here will use the old red herring that its a question of semantics, a cop-out if ever there were. StonewallUK and their supporters delude themselves into thinking that Civil Partnerships are progressive, even radical when in fact nine countries proved them all wrong, a trend that is growing. The other red herring they use is the backlash from the state cult among others, another myth that’s been debunked by nine countries thus far. It doesn’t occur to them why those countries abandoned the mish mash of legal unions for marriage. Next year, it will be 10 countries when Finland’s same-sex marriage laws take effect.

    Iris and MartinM, well said! The naysayers can’t even grasp the concept of FULL equality, typical insular mentality. None see the larger picture. I bet if you took a poll worldwide of gay people, the overwhelming majority of them would want the right to marry, to be treated exactly the same as their straight counterparts. Who wants to be treated like a pariah which is what the ban on marriage equality is all about?

  52. “Most of my disgust is reserved for Stonewall though.”

    No, really? shockin!! Don’t think Anyone would have guessed. You do seem to be a somewhat bitter wee human being.

    Give me Stonewall over tatchell Anyday!

    Keep up the good work Stonewall.

  53. So Squidgy

    Do you actually believe that a gay couple who is not interested in getting a civil partnership, but would instead prefer to enter a civil marriage, should be denied access to the contract of civil marriage simply because they are gay?

    I’m not bitter. I am angry that idiots like you and Stonwewall and each of the 3 main political parties are legitimsing homophobia against every gay person.

    Don’t me wrong. I am fully in favour of civil partnerships being extended to opposite sex couples. So long as there is equality then that’s what’s important.

  54. Felix Garnet-Simister. 17 Jun 2010, 1:59pm

    So will “full marriage equality” mean that transsexual people married to an originally “opposite” sex partner will no longer be forced to divorce and then establish a Civil Partnership?

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