Other than semantic BS, how does “civil partnership” for hetero couples differ from a “marriage” that takes place in a registry office or other licensed location. Civil partnerships for heterosexual people is a total red herring and should be disregarded as such. Also, PACS in France is viewed as inferior to marriage, almost a “marriage lite” and is nothing to aspire to or try to emulate. Simple and unequivocal truth – Separate but equal NEVER is equal. History has shown us this, history has demonstrated that the new mechanism (be it civil partnership, PACS or whatever) is always viewed as inferior. Equality should not be subject to compromise.
Because the Labour government created a brand new institution called Civil Partnership solely to deny same sex couples access to civil marriage equality, CP’s have become a fact of life in Britain.
I agree with Tatchell that it is bigotted in the extreme to deny all couples access to both CP’s and civil marriage.
And this is a fault of the Labour Party who legislated for the current apartheid system.
I want to see equal access to CP’s and marriage for all couples.
As for the ‘consultation’ – that sounds like a delaying tactic.
A consultation is not welcome nor required.
The apartheid system of CP’s is wrong. End of story.
OK. But what is the difference between a civil partnership for a hetero couple, and a civil ceremony in a registry office other than playing games with language/common parlance? CP isn’t needed and it should never have been accepted as a compromise. Hetero couples don’t need CP as they already have a de facto version of it, and GLBTQ couples don’t need it as it is an inferior copy.
1. You may think there’s no difference, but to other people there is a difference. See the stats in the Netherlands, where both are available with the same legal consequences, and 1 in 4 same sex couples and 1 in 10 mixed sex couples choose CP.
2. Without CP in the UK, people with CP/PACS/civil union etc in other countries will lose all their rights as couples when they come to the UK. At present they are recognised as if they have a CP; abolish CP and their legal couple staus completely vanishes overnight,.
Again. What is a “civil partnership” other than an artificial panacea to the religious who tried to assert ownership of a word that they never owned in the first place? It is nothing more than legal/semantic sleight of hand. And again – what is civil partnership? What is the operating difference? People are just as “married” whether in a cathedral with a bishop officiating, or on the penalty spot of Old Trafford with a secular celebrant. So what purpose did “Civil Partnership” actually serve? What is the difference? I would put it to you that there is no difference at all other than to salve those who believed that letting us queer folks “marry” would wreck “marriage.”
Well I did post a reply here, but it seems to have disappeared! The answer is that for a big minority of people, there is a difference, so why not give them the choice? Also, CP is the way that overseas PACS etc are recognised in the UK. What happens to that recognition if you abolish CP?
Simply respect a French PACS as a marriage. The CP thing was not done to serve GLBTQ people, it was done to stroke off those who hate us. So we switch terms in legislation – for civil partnership, read Marriage. What is the operating difference? None.
A French PACS is not a marriage and does not confer all the rights of marriage.
Yet many straight couples still choose them.
Oh sorry – now my original reply has reappeared!
Respecting a French PACS as a marriage in the UK is not going to happen. And why should it, when PACS (which is available to mixed sex couples too) is specifically not a marriage in France, but is another choice?
Why restrict people’s choices – if all couples can have two choices in the likes of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, why not here too?
And of course once we have same sex marriage and mixed sex CP, there’s no reason why the legal consequences of CP should not diverge from marriage over time – make it something a bit different, like the French PACS is different from marriage. More choices!
PACs is certainly different from marriage – it is inferior and tends to be picked by couples who want to see if their relationship is worth being upgraded to marriage. It is nothing more than marriage lite, another bone thrown to GLBTQ people to make them sit down and shut up. What about the Canadian model that simply corrected its law by requiring two legally competent adults, gender irrelevant. Inventing new terms, whole new areas of laws because us queer folks make others feel a bit icky is such a compromise. It isn’t about choice, it is about being brow-beaten in to accepting that marriage is THEIRS when it is not, it is a civil contract that should be open to any couple that wishes to sign the document.
I don’t understand why you think the two are mutually exclusive. Of course CP was invented to reinforce the 2nd class status of same sex couples. Of course we should have full rights to marriage, including marriage conducted by those religious bodies that want to. But that doesn’t exclude keeping CP. In fact, in your example country, Canada, at least two provinces also have a registered partnership system, as an alternative choice to marriage.
PACS are popular with couples on the left. It is a form of asserting the meaning of one’s relationship without the historical and religious baggage of a marriage.
The govt only a few weeks ago discussed a new partnership law which would have given SS people and straights a proper alternative to marriage, it was rejected and no-one got on their high horse about that. Straight CPs were discussed at the same time as gay ones back in 2005 and was thrown out becuase it felt no-one would want a copy of a marriage with a different name. CP were a quick fix for gays back in 2005, nothing more. We only have them becuase we couldn’t get the word marriage. Look at the comment by Roger Helme about gay marriage, this is what we are fighting against. A completely different battle than straight partnerships. We are fighting discrmination and prejudice, straights aren’t!. PACS is an alternative to marriage, PACS is not like a Britisg gay CP. IT’s a CONTRACT!, you don’t have to be in it for a yr and then prove a break down to get out of it etc. What evidence , research does anyone have on the type of partnership law straights want as an alternative to marriage
This is a man who is never satisfied. The only thing begging the question if this is an attempt to kick the gay marriage issue into the long-grass is Peter Tatchell, a man for whom the idea that it’s a Conservative-dominated government doing this, despite Labour’s 13-year failure, must make his head explode.
Once gay marriage is introduced, the right approach to civil partnerships is convert existing agreements to marriage for those that want to (at no charge) and then abolish it for both gays and straights. No discrimination, no court case, QED.
For religion, the separation of church and state should go both ways. The affront to equal rights is legal discrimination. Once equality is enshrined in law, our more superstitious countrymen should have the right to bless or not bless whatever they like. For the anti-gay among them, our job is to directly persuade them to change their minds, not to try to get the government to beat prejudice out of them with intrusive legislation.
So Mike, you’re saying you’re totally satisfied with this legislation banning religious organisation solemnising same sex marriage? Or were just complaining about Peter Tatchell never being satisfied to score partisan points?
He was just as critical during the civil partnership debates as he is now. He’s being consistent whether it’s the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems in the wrong. Good on him I say.
Being a consistent moaner is not to be admired. I am aware, being a grown-up, that you can’t always get what you want when you want it, and that sometimes small steps are needed on a longer journey. It would have been far better of Tatchell to celebrate this advance while still reminding us that there is a way to go rather than this petulant display of negativity and foot-stamping.
All Peter’s doing is pointing out that this still doesn’t give us equality.
Nothing wrong with that.
He’s taken a much better stance on this than Stonewall.
Not totally satisfied; I’d rather religion was not mentioned at all. But for me, what’s important is legal equality. For me (getting civilised, or married if the law goes through quick enough), what I care about is being on an equal legal footing with my straight friends. Religious recognition is a nice-to-have but not necessary for that.
Peter exasperated me because he is so blatantly partisan all the time. Nothing is ever good enough. When was the last time you ever heard PT celebrate rather than criticise? As a well-known Labour party member, and after the Blair government gave us the “separate-but-equal” CPs, this reads to me like an attempt to say “they’re just as bad.” Well, you know what, Peter, they’re not; your team had 13 years to do this and failed.
Mike – the current mess is not the Tories fault.
It is the Labour Party who introduced CP Apartheid.
And marriage equality is not official Labour Party policy.
I think the Labour Party has badly damaged their self-styled reputation for being gay-friendly thanks to their complete and utter spinelessness on the matter of marriage equality.
The Labour Party has done more for equality than any other party while in Government. So don’t go bashing them.
I agree totally Mike – Peter is just pissed that this is a Tory government moving this forward more than the previous government ever dared. Sick of his sour grapes. Who is going to want a CP once gay marriage is legal?
I would take a CP over a marriage any day of the week.
Marriage is a cancerous institution in my view which has been used to enslave women for centuries.
However I’ll be damned before I accept being denied access to the contract of civil marriage solely because I am gay.
Thanks to the Labour Party’s utter spinelessness on the matter of marriage equality, the UK now has a 2 tier system of legal recognition of relationships.
Equal access to CP’s and civil marriage to all couples is what must now be provided.
Abolish CP, because you don’t want one, Mike? What about the 1 in 4 same sex couples who would prefer a CP to a marriage (sources: Equality Network’s survey of 429 LGBT people; and stats from the Netherlands where they have both available).
What about all the couples who’ve moved here from countries like France with a PACS or equivalent, who currently have CP rights here and would lose all their coupledom rights overnight if CP was abolished?
No, abolish CPs because they’re a cheap imitation of the real deal. We already have a perfectly good institution that recognises enduring love and partnership between two people. It’s called marriage.
It’s sad that France still insists on a discriminatory two-tier system for its gay population, and I fervently hope that they see the light and join the 21st century at some point. Nevertheless, I don’t see it as a strong argument for keeping a duplicative and inferior institution invented as a sop to keep the gays out of the mainstream.
Nobody should be satisfied with anything less than full equality, if you are thenj you are either an apathetic idiot or you are an anti-gay bigot.
As always on this issue, I agree with Peter.
And I equally disagree. This insistence on the finer points of coupledom – straight, gay, marriage, civil partnerships – when viewed from the perspective of homosexual people in those parts of the world where their lives are at stake, can be seen for the rather sad nit-picking that it is. Look at the world, Peter Tatchell, and then think again.
how can it be a consultation if things are specifically excluded? Thats not a discussion thats dictating what they want to happen.
One answer of course is for us all (or you all in England and Wales) to say what we want regardless of the exact questions in the consultation.
The Scottish consultation does not specifically ask whether CP should be opened to mixed-sex couples, but there’s a question about whether CP should remain available if same sex marriage is introduced, and obviously one can answer “yes and it should be opened up to mixed-sex couples”.
What also needs to be remembered is that if / when marriage equality is introduced in Britainl; that Stonewall had NOTHING to do with it.
Thanks to Ben Summerskill’s homophobic campaign against equality, then the LGBT community will gain equality in spite of (not because of) Stonewall.
Actually, demanding CPs for hetero couples right now could provide ammunition to the foes of same-sex marriage including some in all three political parties. It could further bolster their claim that this would render hetero marriage meaningless in the words of Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland recently. Why throw fuel on the fire right now and embolden the opposition, especially the religious nutters? Let’s just get same-sex marriage first and worry about CPs for straights after the fact. Incidentally, I wonder what the percentage of heteros really is who are demanding CPs currently?
Regarding religious CPs, I find that an exercise in futility. Hetero couples who have no choice other than a civil marriage aren’t allowed to have them so why should we? That would again embolden the opposition and justify their claim that we’re being given special rights to the exclusion of everyone else.
I do agree with Robert. In a way, I think there are two seperate debates going on here – one about providing equality in marriage by allowing same-sex marriages and one about providing another institution to marriage which provides the same legal protection as marriage, but not certain conertations from it, which some straight and gay people might prefer. It seems that although Civil Partnerships were initially intended for gay people, as it has been the only form of institution similar to marriage, but not in name, then people would argue that straight people should have access to this. But does this make it the most suitable alternative?
To me, they seem like 2 seperate debates
Some people, especially feminists, don’t like the sexist history of marriage. They prefer to be called partners, rather than husband and wife. It is more egalitarian. Some LGBTs don’t want to ape straight institutions like marriage. They want a different legal framework, like civil partnerships. So it is best to keep both systems but open them to all. Let everyone – gay and straight – have a free and equal choice. It’s the democratic thing to do.
“Some LGBTs don’t want to ape straight institutions like marriage”…..
This is the argument used by many religious people bitterly opposed to same sex marriage, civilly and religiously.
Marriage is not a straight institution, it is not a religious institution, it is a way of forming a commitment between two people that want to spend the rest of their lives together in the eyes of a state or institution.
Agree completely. A marriage is the signing of a civil contract – the nature of the accompanying ceremony is utterly meaningless to anyone but participants. By saying marriage is a “straight institution” we are conceding that it is THEIR word and that we should take the Uncle Tom path of accepting the CP bone that was thrown to us.
I do think we should have full access to civil and religious marriage but I think it could be counter productive if we try t push both straight away. For instance, arguing for civil marriage should allow us to ignore the religious side of the argument as it is a purely state issue. marriage is not exclusively a religious institution. I think the government is going about it the best way although the timing of the consultation is quite late. Let’s step towards full equality pragmatically, that way we can win over even more critics.
I think the 2005 civil partnership Act helped us to be in the position we’re in now with all three major parties backing marriage equality and most of all, the British public firmly behind same sex marriage. Peter Tatchell at this point wanted full same sex marriage, so did I but I think CP has actually increased the support for civil marriage and here we are now with civil marriage being proposed with the Prime Minister fully backing it.
Of course it’s true that law reform proceeds step by step. But it’s never a good idea to pretend that we don’t want something that we do want. LGBT equality groups like the Equality Network (and Peter) were very clear back in 2004 that CP was a step forward but not equality. There’s no reason for us not to say clearly now what full equality means. Let those who oppose equality push the UK Govt and Parliament, if they can, to exclude religious same sex marriages for England and Wales – let’s not concede that ourselves.
In 1994 we fought for an equal age of consent at 16. Some people said “you should not campaign for 16 – you can only get 18 this time round and campaigning for 16 will be counterproductive”. That was bad advice – we did campaign for 16, and we got 18, but it was only 6 years later that we finally got 16. And that was in part because we’d persuaded so many MPs to support 16 in 1994.
Peter did vocally oppose CP in 2004 and now he opposes the consultation and the proposal for civil marriage so he is giving the LGBT community the voice it needs that says, we want equality now, not this baby steps way to equality. However the problem is, the majority of the public are not from the LGBT community and it is them we have to convince. In 2004 when CP were legalised, most of the British public were against civil marriage but now they are overwhelmingly in favour of it and I believe the implementation of CP helped a lot.
The LGBT community isn’t against civil marriage, we would like it right now, today but that isn’t going to happen. To march towards equality we must do it with care and in a pragmatic manner to gain as much support as possible. We should not be ashamed to demand what are our human rights but the world is the way it is. We have to go about it step by step, it happened with women’s votes, civil rights for black people in America etc.
Of course I agree that the implementation of CP helped a lot. So did all the other steps we’ve taken in the past 17 years. Salami slicing is clearly the right way forward for LGBT equality in the UK and always has been.
Political campaigning is a tactical business and you have to pitch it right. Conceding all the ground you fear you might not win, right at the start of the campaign is generally not good tactics.
I should have added that here in Scotland we’re certainly going to pursue religious marriage as a core part of the current development – it’s in the Scottish Govt’s consultation and we will certainly push very strongly for it to make its way into the legislation.
The Netherlands has equal access to civil marriage and CP’s for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
That is the ideal situation.
Yeah, lets just tell ‘em to shove it til they give us everything we want in one go.
The trouble with the ‘All or nothing’ approach is that it ends up damaging the cause and leaving people with nothing.
I don’t believe Equal CPs or Religious marriages have been ruled out. Probably more a case of bit by bit. Each will happen.
It is clear what they are doing with civil marriage route. It’s so that they can get that through Then add to, to get better. It may not be ideal but if we go down the religious marriage route now I can see that problems will arise and we won’t get Anywhere until on the off change the main churchs etc become more liberal. Therefore a very long time. We all knew this wasn’t going to be straight forward and the church changes it’s position at each corner. First it was about marriage in religious places and now that religious place are removed it’s about the word marriage.
I guess we have a choice. Do we say ok Civil marriage is one massive stepping stone, get that piece of equality and then fight for the when it become clear, or do we kick ourselves in the wotsits and delay everything til God knows when?
Personally I would like to marry my partner in 2015/16. However go the Peter Tatchell way and I guess we can forget it all until he gets what He wants. Patience is whats needed. We didn’t we would get unions then we got CPs. Now we’re getting Religoious CP’s. Now were getting Civil Marriage.
I don’t know about you but personally I’d rather it was staggered if it meant we edged ever closer to full Equality sooner than keep waiting for bigotted people to stop putting in wedges to stop us progressing.
Selfish? maybe but I don’t know how many years I have left so this is important to me. Realistic? definitely but are we really kidding ourselves that things won’t improve for both all marriages and CP’s? Yes we’ll have to work at it a little but for heavens sake do we really want to halt progress to apease the bigots who don’t need much of an excuse but thanks to Mr. Tatchell eagerness to hand on right to them.
I agree in this articles sentiment but sadly for the ‘all or nothing’ brigade, we’re in the real world, where often the best way is by stepping stones. That way we get what we want and quicker. Again patience is key and biting the hand of progress does nothing for this very great piece of Equality. Don’t sacrifice civil marriage just to please your ego. Yes your fight is appreicated but loose this for us and your actions Will backfire. Leaving the rest of us to suffer the consequences.
Until ‘Jock S. Trap’ changes his childish pseudonym, could someone have a word with him? Every time I see his ‘name’ among these postings, I’m reminded of schoolboy games we used to play inventing book titles and their authors e.g. ‘Spots on the Wall’ by Hu Flung Dung…And that was not the worst. What is this gentleman afraid of?
Wow, you really don’t add anything do you? LOL
Laughable and yet still pathetic.
So says the person who changes his name to made personal attacks.
What are you afraid of?
Luke, I agree. This has to be a pragmatic approach. We can’t always get everything we want at one time, it’s the way the system works in our country. I say get same-sex civil marriage passed first, then address hetero CPs after the fact. Hetero’s too need to make noise about it if that’s what some of them want. If they see us get same-sex marriage first, it could well embolden them to make CPs for them happen. Where would be if we didn’t do the same with same-sex marriage? The squeaky wheel gets the most attention.
Nothing is good enough for Tatchell… he’s pathetic. He has done nothing for this country or our rights. Please Tatchell, get a real job and let the government get on with their jobs. Pathetic little man.
See that just sounds like it’s from someone bitterly uneducated. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Mr Tatchell does but even I can see he does good for a good cause not just on Gay rights but also for Human rights etc and besides isn’t Mr Tatchell entitled to make his view about this subject? Something I note you haven’t done.
See that just comes across as bitterly uneducated.
Ok I don’t agree with some of what Mr. Tatchell does or says but even I can see the good he does both for Gay rights and for Human rights too.
Besides, isn’t Mr. Tatchell entitled to have his say on this subject? Something I note from your comment that is lacking.
(I apologise if this comes out as a second message but don’t know if my first took or not. They don’t show sometimes but the one before when all weird)
@ Jamie Borris: It’s clear from your comment who the pathetic little man is. (Hint: it isn’t PT.)
I agree. Tatchell is never satisfied. I don’t agree with a lot of his politics. How he strongly defends Muslims when they are more than likely the most homophobic of all society.
Can I be honest. I actually don’t care whether straight couples are allowed to have a civil partnership or not.
My concern is that the LGBT community has enough on it’s plate to fight without having to take up straight focused causes too.
I agree that in an ideal world we’d all have equal rights and I understand the point that it is simply a question of equality.
However, straight men and women can go and get married in a registry office if they don’t want the full religious works.
Up until recently we didn’t have that luxury and then it was given to us as a ‘civil partnership’ so as not to offend the right-wingers and religous leaders.
I support the case for gay marriage wholeheartedly, but I’m not here to deal with how hard-done-by that a few middle class “right-ons” feel because they’ve read somewhere in a trendy art house magazine article about the patriarchal legacy of marriage and how religion is a universal oppressor and feel moved to make a statement.
Actually, Jamie Borris, it was Peter Tatchell who first put same-sex marriage on the map, long before Holland became the first nation to legalise it. He was ahead of his time and still is.
I disagree with him in regard to PACs for both straight and gay couples in France. PACS don’t even confer one half of the rights of marriage and are inferior in many ways, but if both orientations want to live that way, who am I to say no? I for one wouldn’t want one.
I think that it is wrong to create seperate rules for marrage, either one law or the other, maybe the churches need to stop performing legal marrages, the all marrages can be done as CP’s. if people want a church wedding, the still have to go to do the same thing as the rest of us.This is about a stupid law that is unfair. all we can do is vote with our money Sorry David, but I do not like you using the word “apartheid” I never liked it in South Africa and I lost a lot of good friends in that silly war, we did not want to defend the goverment, but had very little choice.
South Africa has led the rest of the world with gay rights since our 1994 elections, time the rest of the world cought up
For a number of non-christian religions in this country, that is what people actually have to do – get a registry office wedding either shortly before or shortly after their religious wedding as their religious wedding doesn’t count as a legal marriage ceremony.
In fact, *technically* NO religious wedding ceremony counts as a legally recognised marriage ceremony in this country – as far as the law is concerned in the case of most christian weddings (and ones of other faiths that are in approved buildings, follow the approved format and are officiated by approved officials) TWO ceremonies are taken as occuring simultaneously, one religious and legally irrelevant and one civil and legally binding.
I don’t know about England and Wales, but in Scotland the law is the opposite of what you describe. Under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977, there are two ways of solemnising a marriage: civil marriage solemnised by a district registrar, and religious marriage, solemnised by an approved religious (and now Humanist as well) celebrant. Once the marriage is solemnised (ie, started), the law makes no distinction between civl and religious marriages.
I agree with Peter on this.. There really is no excuse for delays… We just want to be treated equally… and we want it NOW.
Totally, there is no excuse to maintain the second class citizen status a day longer.
The public is on our side. Most support same-sex marriage. See here:
It’s the politicians who have been holding back equality. Now that the government and many MPs are accepting the wind of change, let’s strive to make sure it really is equal rights for all – LGBT and heterosexual. This means opening same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships to everyone, without discrimination. And allowing gay religious weddings for faiths that want to conduct them. Simple.
But when you were arguing for same sex marriage the public where not supportive and we need them on side to get the law changed. I am not saying that campaigning for it all these years is wrong, it has helped a lot to change peoples perceptions but I really think a pragmatic approach will ensure we get solid support towards equality. Jumping in there straight away will fail in my view, one thing at a time, civil marriage first. Like CP, they started off as an exclusively civil thing but now some churches for example want to perform them, I am sure the same will happen with same sex civil marriage too. We will get there but unfortunately Peter, it will take longer than we would like to get there, just like it took years and years to reach full equality in regards to women votes and black people’s civil rights in America.
It’s important right now for LGBT’s to tell the Government exactly what we do want so that they do not have an excuse to make the incorrect assumption on our behalf that the unsustainable half-measure towards marriage equality they are about to fob off on us is acceptable.
I agree with Peter Tatchell, tell the Government that what they have planned is not sufficient and that it is discriminatory and unsustainable as it conflicts with the religious freedoms of gay couples and of those churches who would willingly marry them but which will be banned from doing so.
This nit-picking about gay marriage/civil partnership etc etc can be set in its true perspective by considering the fact that in parts of the world homosexual men and women can be, and are, killed by their governments. What about directing more outraged energy to those matters?
Can a leopard change its spots, NO. Can the Tory party become more gay friendly?
It’s just over 3 years to wait for the Labour landslide victory at the next general election.