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Stonewall publishes draft marriage equality bill

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  1. Great Stonewall, well done.
    As the drafted Bill shows it is a simple matter to extend marriage rights to same sex couples.

    1. Marriage is simple.

      But what about CPs? We only had CPs becuase they wouldn’t give us the term marriage and CPs wouldn’t have been an exact copy of marriage if they had been open to straights from the start.

      CPs are the technical problem NOT marriage.

  2. Agreed and making it easy to convert an existing Civil Partnership to a marriage. That is quite an important point to those of us in an existing CP and wanting to convert. :)

    1. That’s what the draft bill does

  3. Hurrah. And about time Stonewall started listening to the communities it claims to represent.

    1. Don’t feed the ‘it gets worse’ keith troll. Ignore it’s latest sad little ploy and pity it.

      1. You pity something becuase it can’t help its self. Keith has chosen to be an animal. Its a choice. So no pity. And God hates him for it.


  4. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Feb 2012, 7:28pm

    About time. I do see its point though in regard to expanding CPs to straight couples, not that I think many straights would want one, but should be available to them nonetheless. I also think it unwise to be pushing for straight access to CPs right now because it would only arm the three major denominations’ contention that allowing same-sex marriage would harm straight marriage. StonewallUK lobbying for straight access to CPs would only give our opponents more ammunition. We should get same-sex marriage legalised first, then approach CPs for straights a year or two afer we’re allowed to marry.

    1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2012, 11:08pm

      CP’s should be treated for the wishy-washy compromise they are. They should be scrapped and done away with as soon as marriage becomes available.

  5. John Antrobus 14 Feb 2012, 7:41pm

    It’s a pity that the section dealing with the conversion of a cp to a marriage doesn’t specify that no charges to the couple should arise. When I paid for my cp I actually wanted a marriage. If it becomes possible for me to swap. My cp for a marriage, I shouldn’t have to pay extra. That would be further discrimination because I’m gay.

    1. I agree totally.

    2. I have been thinking about this a lot as well. I’ll be extremely irritated to have to pay it would be one extra slap in the face.

    3. That just means the administrative charges come out the tax pool. Nothing is ‘free’ realy.

      1. I pay my taxes so why shouldn’t it come out of the tax pool? The tax pool pays for things that in no way benefit me but I don’t mind. That’s the whole point of a tax pool.

        What does bother me is that I pay taxes in a country that doesn’t consider me equal to my heterosexual neighbours. They are married but I have had to settle for a civil partnership and may have to pay to upgrade it to something I was denied in the first place.

        If they think it will make too much of a ripple in the tax pool I suggest they stop giving tax breaks to religious organisations who seek to deny CIVIL marriage rights to gay people. That should more than cover the costs I should think.

        1. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

        2. Because it’ll just mean another tax increase to coverit.

    4. Hey, you’ve had the benefit of a CP, and no one would force you to switch it. On the other hand some of us have waited and done without the benefit, holding out for equality. You should pay up whatever small sum they ask, and e grateful if they don’t require the CP ended first, even though they are quite different contracts.

      After all, those getting Gender Recognition Certificates have had to pay for an end to one marriage or partnership and the making of another because lesbians and gays accepted unequal CPs.

  6. Good news!

    Hope the consultation , though, is by the beginning of March and not the end!

    Good to see Stonewall are encouraging us to all do something ourselves as well and have asked us to download their postcards and send to people. However, was a bit confused as to what the postcards were all about, I was expecting some kind of guidance on what to write to MPs etc.

    Still confused though about CPs, don’t know how we are going to be able to continue doing new CPs for gays and not do them for straights. This is such an obvious piece of discrimination that it’s never going to get thru the HoL??. I think they need to consider whether new CPs are going to be no more and just retain old ones??

    1. Obviously, from their draft bill, they have decided that CPs should continue for same-sex couples only, but with a procedure to convert the CPs of those who want a marriage. That isn’t good enough, shows Stonewall still haven’t learned their lessons, and that we are likely to have a fight on our hands over equal marriage.

      Would those who switch to a marriage still be on the CP register (what should be an illegal public register of homosexual people) too? Would trans people who are in a marriage have a choice on whether they get a CP or a marriage if they get gender recognition? Would those with overseas non-marriage legal partnerships be allowed to choose whether to be accepted as married or in a CP here? Will the UK promote CPs and same-sex marriages as both equal to marriages in other countries, or as unequal? Will those of trans experience or history still have to declare their history first, when no one else has to declare infertility or medical status? None of that is addressed.

  7. It may seem pedantic but I don’t like the title “Extension of Marriage …” To describe it like that is to go along with the religious lobby’s claims that the government is seeking to redefine marriage.

    “Marriage” is not being “extended” or redefined – we are simply removing an out-dated restriction on which persons may form a marriage.

    I don’t see any point keeping CP’s going as a parallel institution under a different name and I hope the government won’t adopt this. But I understand that it would be asking a lot for Stonewall to admit that CPs are now redundant.

    1. I think “extended” is an apt description, the right of access to marriage is being extended to same sex couples however marriage is not being redefined.

    2. John Antrobus 14 Feb 2012, 8:50pm

      I think the terminology is important. Just as we don’t want gay marriage (as some insist on calling it), we want marriage equality, we also don’t want marriage to be extended, but simply to be made gender neutral.

      1. Gay marriage predates any ‘traditional’ definition that you’re referring to. We’re just asking for it to be changed back. Perhaps reading a history book or two before forming an opinion would hep bring clarity to the issue.

      2. Drunk again Keith? Write that one with your face, did we?

      3. John Antrobus 15 Feb 2012, 7:53am

        Now don’t be silly. You know perfectly well that gender neutral means no reference to gender in marriage-related legislation. The marriage act currently refers to men and women, so. It’s not gender neutral.

      4. “Extended” in this case should be understood in the sense of something (a resource, in this case marriage) being made available to someone (in this case same sex couples)

      5. “Extended” in this case should be understood in the sense of something (a resource, in this case marriage) being made available to someone (in this case same sex couples)

        (I’m reposting this as my reply went in the wrong place previously)

      6. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Feb 2012, 12:42pm

        “Expanded” to “include” everyone, i.e. gay couples. It’s not even redefining marriage because it won’t even affect straight couples marrying now or in the future, contrary to the bigotry coming from the major religious denominations and their followers. In a true democracy, rights are expanded, not contracted. This is a purely civil matter, another reason why religious denominations should stay out of matters that really do not concern them. We’re not demanding religious marriage so they have no business interfering in something that is not going to affect them.

      7. Jock S. Trap 15 Feb 2012, 9:59pm

        The original defintion of marriage was two people who loved each other. It’s only religion that dictated that to change after it had already been in place for centuries. Civil marriage has nothing to do with religion therefore has nothing to do with religion.

      8. Jock S. Trap 17 Feb 2012, 3:37pm

        Erm and yet wasn’t it religious that ‘redefined’ marriage from it originally was? I think so!

        I think it’s far to say what we seek is what marriage originally was not how some bigots with a chosen religious lifestyle dictated.

    3. You’re splitting hairs.

      1. John Antrobus 15 Feb 2012, 7:55am

        No, Ged, I’m being precise, which is what good legislation needs to be. This is a draft Bill we’re talking about.

        1. True, but you’re focusing on an unimportant aspect.If we get the right to marry then we get the right to marry. Whether they call it an extension or not isn’t relevant.

  8. Vauxhall-Boy 14 Feb 2012, 9:15pm

    Fantastic to see Stonewall endorsing a simple and transparent approach to marriage.

    That is the terminology that should be used – marriage, nothing more, nothing less. The word is and should be viewed as gender neutral.

    1. Spanner1960 15 Feb 2012, 1:08am

      What they are proposing is neither simple nor transparent.
      They still want to retain CPs which totally confuses and dilutes the entire issue.

  9. Good for Stonewall. But let’s not forget all the good work being done by Peter Tatchell.

  10. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2012, 11:04pm

    Interfering prats!
    Why do they see it necessary to retain CPs and extend it to straights? This will simply cause confusion, increase costs and give people reasons to excuse themselves from accepting a bona fide legal relationship. It will also mean that you can bet your arse that people already in CPS will not be able to upgrade, or if they do they will be charged an arm and a leg to do it or go through the entire debacle again.

    Fcking Marxist lefty prats have said and done nothing whilst CPs went through, and now they pipe up with this unadulterated, bureaucratic CRAP.

    Marriage for everyone. One rule, one statute.

    1. If it wasn`t for us so called lefty prats as you call us homosexuality would still be illegal and you wouldn`t have half the rights you have now!

      I didn`t see right wingers fighting for equality over the past 40 years what did the Conservative party do for Equality during the 1980s and 1990s?

      Civil partnerships should be scrapped as soon as Civil Marriages become legal there is no need for CP once Marriage Equality is made legal

      I agre the last Labour Government didn`t go far enough with Marriage equality or homophobic bullying in schools

      I never supported Civil Partnerships in the first place it was always a weak second class form of marriage

    2. Hodge Podge 15 Feb 2012, 12:50am

      Ben Summerskill ain’t no lefty, S’onewall are all champaign, New Labour neo-liberals

    3. Why do people scream Marxism over things completely unrelated to Marxism when they encounter an opinion that is contrary to their own?

      Despite your Daily Mailesque rhetoric, I completely agree with you Spanner CPs are unnecessary. The straight people who are anti marriage do not have a convincing enough argument IMO.

      They don’t like what they perceive to be the definition of marriage (in my mind you define your own marriage) and it’s misogynist/religious history but they’re ok with the fact that CPs were pretty much invented to discriminate against homosexuals under the guise of equality.

      Perhaps I’ve missed something in their argument. I did once ask if anyone here could explain it to me here all I got what a snarky reply from someone to google it, which I did and the results pretty much confirmed my above impression.

      1. Spanner1960 15 Feb 2012, 7:49am

        Joss: I do not “scream” Marxism.
        Many people have pointed out the left wing agenda of Neo-Marxism and the Frankfurt School and the attempt to systematically assault traditional institutions of the West in order to bring about its downfall. I believe many people are supporting marriage for gays not because for any human rights or equality reasons, but simply as an attack on the Church and the traditional British way of life.

        As a gay man I am fully in support of gay marriage for obvious reasons, and I am already in that sham they call a “Civil Partnership”, however, I do think a lot of people are jumping on this gravy train for all the wrong reasons.

      2. Well… I don’t think it’s right to say CPs were invented to discriminate AGAINST gay people, if that were the aim then why invent them at all? The previous situation was perfectly discriminatory enough! Nevertheless, they are nothing more than a political tool, so that politicians can look voters in the eye and say they support gay rights while at the same time look at the religious haters and say they believe in tradition. This worked for about 5 minutes before the confetti of Elton and David’s “wedding” was cleared away, and then people like Spanner started getting annoyed. His and others’ outrage is quite justified in my opinion.

        That said, I do not agree with the idea that CPs should be abolished altogether. They have, whether intentionally or not, opened up a wider debate about the desire some people have to be in a union that has no link to religion. All people, straight and gay, should have this option – freedom from religion.

        1. I also actively support a more secular country, and I think CPs go some way in providing such a society. Obviously, the law would have to be changed so access was to CPs was equal for all, but I cannot see the benefit in withdrawing them completely?

          1. Civil marriage has no link to religion.

            I also would like a secular country and a republic.

            In a secular society such a France the church does not have such a entwined role in marriage. Religious ceremonies are not recognised by the state in France, you must have a civil marriage first and you can add on a religious bit later, if you so chose.

            In our country people would love you to believe that marriage is a religious invention. IT IS NOT.

            Civil partnerships were a “political tool” you are right, to perpetuate the discrimination that was already in place not alleviate it, as people seem to believe. If it had alleviated discrimination we wouldn’t have to listen to people tell us that if we have marriage rights the world will implode/people will sleep with their sisters/brothers/uncle/dog.

            Separate is not equal.

          2. @Joss

            Do you think civil marriage would do away with those kind of comments? I’m afraid I just don’t agree that CPs were created to “perpetuate” discrimination. Even if they were, I don’t think it’s worked very well.

            Interesting point about France’s system though. Upon reflection, I would agree a blanket civil marriage option for all would be more appropriate.

          3. Spanner1960 15 Feb 2012, 3:45pm

            You cannot see the benefit? Two parallel systems doing essentially the same thing. Every application form and document in the country being reprinted. The average “Bloke in the street” still not understanding the difference. Homophobes using CPs to identify people. The taxpayer having to pay for duplicate processes. Foreign countries still refusing to legally recognise a CP. Being identified quite obviously as gay when ticking forms on boxes.

            The list goes on. The concept is about as watertight as a sieve.

          4. Yes Spanner then Chris said this:

            “Interesting point about France’s system though. Upon reflection, I would agree a blanket civil marriage option for all would be more appropriate.”

            I think you are preaching to the converted

  11. Would have been nice if they’d bothered with something before we’d already been promised gay marriage. Too little too late.

  12. Idon‘t whether isright!But I konw what they is happy!

  13. And the trans perspective must be added. Clearly the GRA will require amendment and the award of a GRC should be based on the application alone and not withheld due to relationship status.

    At present, if an interim GRC has been awarded, either spouse can end the marriage as it is then ‘voidable’. This provision should be included in the Bill – making the marriage voidable on the award of a GRC for those marriages where one or both parties do not wish to remain married..

    If CPs are to be retained for same sex couples only, this will cause an issue if a person in a CP seeks a GRC as a change of legal gender of the applicant will result in a mixed sex civil partnership.In effect this would force the CP couple to convert their CP to a marriage as allowed by the Bill before applying for a GRC.

    Some may not want to end a CP (and no different to the current situation where married trans folk must end their marriages to gain a GRC and can then form a CP). Unfairness will be retained?

    1. CPs obviously have to be opened equally.

      Since so much of the Gender Recognition Act was about avoiding same-sex marriage, Equal Marriage (if that is indeed what the government intends to propose) should provide us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to have it almost completely updated and reformed. So I would hope legislation is not limited to a marriage bill.

      Children need appropriate documents before 18. We must have proper privacy and data security, changed birth certificates with outdated matters sealed, the Gender Recognition Register erased, real recognition of a change of sex immediately upon SRS, an end to fresh, retrospective, mental-illness diagnoses, and to permanent intimate files. There must be decent provision for those living overseas and those from overseas, and no assumption that couples will split.

  14. Good to see Stonewall getting back on the bus. We’ll need to wait to see if it’s fit to be the driver again after it’s earlier lost sense of direction. R

    1. It so totally is not fit.

  15. I am with Spanner on the CP issue, why have two types of civil union. Far too confusing!

  16. Yes, I think there is a bit of an attempt at face-saving going on at Stonewall. The Civil Partnership Act of Segregation was, at best, a half-way house but will be wholly redundant with marriage equality. It is a bridge that needs burning if the principle of equality is to mean anything at all.

  17. Equal marriage would be a better title than “extending marriage”, and although a simple bill to make marriage equal is to be desired, unfortunately, in concentrating, as ever, only upon some of those it claims to represent, Stonewall has ignored many who need to be included. Given that their need is due to the mess Stonewall helped make with Civil Partnerships, that is not good enough.

    Where is the provision for those married overseas? Or the problems unequal marriage caused in Gender Recognition? Would marriage all be by the same registrars? What is their solution to the dangerous separate public register of same sex couples if CPs are not opened equally?

  18. Jock S. Trap 17 Feb 2012, 3:26pm

    About time Stonewall. Excellent work.

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