And as for the duplicitous Ben Summerskill and Stonewall (UK) who announced they would support equal marriage rights for gays… It’s takes significant effort (or enormous incompetence) to get this little done for this long.
Once this final couple get turned down it will be exciting to see this campaign go into its second phase in 2011!
I’m not sure what they are trying to achieve. Legally there is not a single difference between a partnership and marriage in UK. If they are going to courts, it’s going to be a long session of laughter to the judges (if they consider the case at all, that is).
322 – I wonder why the govt have asked this question as well recently – ie the difference between marriage v CP
How does civil partnership differ from marriage?
Technical differences under the CPA 2004
The obvious first point is that civil partnerships are only available to same-sex couples whereas civil marriage is only available to opposite-sex couples.
The legislative establishment of civil partners under the CPA 2004 creates a union almost identical to, but not, marriage. Civil partnerships are different from marriage in two important respects:
Civil partnership can only be a civil procedure, never religious. In contrast, opposite-sex couples can opt for a religious or civil marriage ceremony as they choose.
Adultery is not a ground for dissolution of a civil partnership (as it is for divorce), nor is consummation a criterion for validity (as it is in marriage). However, infidelity may be a contributory factor where ‘unreasonable behaviour’ is being cited as a ground for seeking dissolution of a civil partnership.
It should also be noted that a civil partnership is formed when the second partner signs the relevant document, whereas a civil marriage is formed when the couple exchange spoken words and then the register is signed.
The Government has sought to give civil partners parity of treatment with spouses, as far as is possible, in the rights and responsibilities that flow from forming a civil partnership. Civil partners have the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple in many areas including tax, social security, inheritance and workplace benefits. That said civil partnership is a completely new legal relationship, exclusively for same-sex couples, distinct from marriage.
Various social commentators have expressed the view that in recent years the differences between cohabitation, marriage and civil partnership have been eroded in the UK. For example:
Whilst the number of marriages has declined, cohabitation or remaining single has become more acceptable.
Successive governments have steadily removed the differences between married, cohabiting and same-sex couples by, for example: allowing single people and same sex couples to adopt; extending domestic violence legislation to all couples; calculating benefits by household occupation rather than married status; extending occupation rights to partners and parental responsibilities to all categories of persons.
A couple do not need to be married in order to safe guard each partners’ rights in relation to banks, income tax, pension schemes and next-of-kin hospital decisions.
In certain landmark cases, judges have given the same rights to same sex-couples as married couples (See the judgment given by Lord Millett in Ghaidan v Godin-Mendoza , this was a case about the right of a same-sex partner to succeed to a protected tenancy8).
Personally I could add a few more differences…
it’s also interesting that the lib dems have asked a few questions and although the answers are pathetic it at least dispels BS myth that there was somekind of report that said CPs would be too expensive to bring in for straights….
Stephen Gilbert – To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will assess the likely level of take-up of provision in legislation for civil partnerships for heterosexual couples.
Lynee Featherstone – have not been any assessments on the likely take up by heterosexual couples seeking a civil partnership, were it to be provided for in legislation.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was designed to give same-sex relationships parity of treatment with civil marriage. To enter into a civil partnership, two people must be of the same sex.
Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will assess the likely level of take-up of provision in legislation for same-sex marriage. 
Lynne Featherstone: There have not been any assessments of the likely take up of same-sex marriage, were it to be provided for in legislatio
Lastly the lib dems did present a petition for the children of Bristol (and note children at schools do think this is an important issue for the future NOT ONLY homophobic bullying!!) who asked the last govt why gays couldn’t have marriage, I would like to see this petition resubmitted to this govt and see what their response is!!!
Homosexuals (Right to Marriage)
The Petition of residents of Bristol and others,
Declares that the Petitioners disapprove of the fact that homosexuals do not have the right to a legal ceremony of marriage.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to bring forward legislation to give homosexuals the right to a legal ceremony of marriage.
And the Petitioners remain, etc. -[Presented by Stephen Williams , Official Report, 26 January 2010; Vol. 504, c. 780 .]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Justice , received 26 March 2010 :
The Government have no plans to legislate for same-sex marriage. It is important to recognise that marriage has particular historical traditions attached to it. The Government strongly believe that no one should be treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation. We feel that civil partnership provides an appropriate, secular approach to giving recognition to same-sex couples.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was introduced to give same-sex couples the right to gain rights and responsibilities equivalent to those of married couples and as a way for lesbian and gay couples to show their commitment to each other in the same way that opposite-sex couples can through marriage.
The main aim of the Civil Partnership Act was to address the injustices that same-sex couples faced because they had been unable to secure legal recognition of their relationships. Provisions in the Civil Partnership Act comprise both rights and responsibilities, which are on a par with those bestowed by marriage. These include, for example, a duty to provide maintenance to the other partner; compensation under the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act; and the right to survivor pension benefits, to name a few. The Civil Partnership Act does not apply to opposite-sex couples as they have always had the opportunity to obtain a legal and “socially recognised” status for their relationship through marriage, whether through a religious or civil ceremony.
The Government have always maintained that marriage itself is only between a man and a woman. This view has been upheld by the UK courts, most recently in the case of Wilkinson and Kitzinger 2006. Wilkinson and Kitzinger are a British lesbian couple who got married in Canada where same-sex marriage is legal. Under UK law, their marriage is recognised as a civil partnership, but they wanted the court to rule that it should be recognised as a marriage. However, the High Court decided in line with case law, that it could not be recognised as a marriage because they are not male and female.
During the Lords’ Report stage of the Equality Bill on 2 March 2010, an amendment tabled by Lord Alli won a free vote. The effect of this amendment would be to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004, by removing the express prohibition on civil partnerships taking place in religious premises in England and Wales. The intention of this amendment would be to enable same-sex
29 Mar 2010 : Column 19P
couples to register their civil partnership within religious premises assuming that the particular religious institution permitted this.
This is not same-sex marriage, but would provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to register their civil partnership in a religious setting, accompanied by a
29 Mar 2010 : Column 20P
religious service if they so wished. The Government made their position clear during the amendment debate but is currently considering their position in light of this vote, and the further clarifying amendments that have since been tabled by Lord Alli.
322 and John,
Inferior pension rights.
With seven EU countries now with marriage equality it is untrue that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
The UK now needs to catch up with these other seven EU countries that have left UK behind regarding equality, we need to amend the exclusive and discriminatory definition of marriage to one that is inclusive.
Pavlos – We do but we need to get the mps and stonewal working on it…The mp who presented this petition on behalf of a Bristol school (and for heavens sake why couldn’t it have been on behalf of a gay org or gay people!!!!) is my mp so I’m going to see if he can resubmit it or do something now that he is part of the coalition govt…
We do need more questions, media attention etc…
This legal campaign by itself won’t work!
Unfortunately it seems that the so-called minister for equalities, Lynne Featherstone, does not support marriage equality. I have asked her a couple of times, but got no reply.
Dave – I’m not one of Lynne’s constituents so I’d probably get the standard reply from her assistant telling me that there are strict rules about only dealing with her own constitents but if I was her constitent then I’d be the first person to write her a letter and attend one of her surgerys…
I just hope everyone is contacting their own mp but this issue seems to have faded away a bit!!!
What the world really needs to do is totally remove “marriage” from the llegal / civil rights field.
If you want the legal benefits and contractual / economic rights of what we call marriage, go to the government and get a CU. regardless of if you are str8, gay, or whatever.
Separately the churches get complete control of marriage and what it means. Except that if you don’t have a CU, you get zero, repeat zero contractual / legal/economic benefits.
And prohibit churches from doing CUs.
Its all about separation of church and state. And hopefully in the long run turning the conservative churches into museums to teach future generations about relgiious hatred and bigotry.
BTW there are about 6-8 different churches in the USA that will do gay marriage ceremonies.
Naturally the ones that wont are the southern evangelicals who still long for the days of slavery and segregation. And the Catholic church of endless hidden molestation of children, but that is another story – how do we destroy the root of religious hatred and the cause of mass murder in the western world.?
I have said before: CP marriage in all things:
pension beenfits aren’t treated equally;
other civil benefits can be at the discretion of trustees etc;
it isn’t recognised abroad, or not as it is meant;
other things that haven’t been tested yet in law.
MARRIAGE is the understood relationship, and the benefits given and responsibilities incurred recognised in any country (though they do differ).
a – invent a parallel, though nominally euqivalent, concept?
b – why allow religious factions to control a secular agreement?
Steve – surely separation of church and state having control of marriage, not churches?
Marriage has deep social meaning, regardless of your religious views, and as so should be regulated by the state rather than by unaccountable private groups.
Marriage has never been a church monopoly – this is a lie promoted by homophobic fundamentalists – and I can’t see any reason to start now.
Read Judge Walker’s Prop 8 decision.
Mihangel apYrs wrote:
a – invent a parallel, though nominally euqivalent, concept?
b – why allow religious factions to control a secular agreement?”
It’s classification for the sake of it, in order to underscore the notion that LGBT’s relationships are not the equal of heterosexual’s relationships and that if same sex couples were given access to marriage it would somehow taint the institution…it is the anti-gay prejudice that flows from religion written into civic law.
An acceptable definition of marriage that is non discriminatory and without prejudice would be;
“Marriage is the legal union of two persons to the exclusion of all others”
Why is it the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg in particular, made no further attempts to introduce legislation for same-sex civil marriage? Why hasn’t Ed Miliband moved to endorse it as official Labour policy? Why has the Tory government not done a damn thing about it and last, why hasn’t Summerskill started the ball rolling? The silence is deafening. All of us must make a concerted effort to make as much noise as possible about this. Contact your MPs, bombard StonewallUK with emails, letters, phone calls. Don’t let any of them get away with doing absolutely nothing which is what the Tory party will do. I’m sick and tired of politicans saying things and doing nothing. If the Tory party has no plans to legislate for marriage equality, then who will? If they want our votes, let them damned well earn it, deliver on full equaltity or STFU (shut the f__k up)!
the questions were rhetorical, though your answers do encapsulate the philosophy behind CPs perfectly
But the gay orgs and the govt are currently pushing for reglious CPs there is a move to allow relgious music, religious text and symbols into CPs and to allow them to be done in Chruches…the relgious barrier to blessing a gay union is in the process of being lifted in the UK – we now only have the traditional argument of marriage being between man and woman …If we have got this far in getting relgious CP accepted in principle then we should be asking for the whole thing – MARRIAGE
I’m sure eventually the rights (eg pensions) given to CP and marriage will be identical – there is a case due to be settled in Jan 2011 which will force a lot of EU countries to do this in any case (Romer v Hamburg ECJ) – the arguement is discriminatiion based on sexaul orientation, 2 instituions , 2 laws …we should not have this in the UK…we shouldn’t be labelling , defining people
Robert – I agree fully with you – the whole discussion has been exahsted – we need to bomard stonewall and our mps and badger them to start raising questions and start making this more of a topic..
Of course there are other gay orgs that could be doing the work of stonewall on pusing for marriage in Eng and Wales!