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Peter Tatchell: ‘Straight couples refused equality’

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  1. Actually, we have no idea if CPs will continue, yet.

    Seems to be making a fuss about something that hasn’t (yet) happened.

    1. I guess I should point out that I agree with PT’s basic argument. Just not the gun-jumping.

    2. Equality Network 6 Dec 2012, 4:53pm

      The Scottish Government have been clear that they are not abolishing CP when they introduce equal marriage. Unfortunately they don’t plan to open up CP to mixed-sex couples, but we and others here will continue to campaign for that.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Dec 2012, 4:59pm

      I don’t think CPs will be abandoned. I want them to stay because it will make the case for heterosexual access that much more compelling once equal marriage is a reality. I would suspect that those in opposition would be far more opposed to opening CPs for straights. They would blame it on giving gays access to marriage while at the same time diluting the importance of marriage, both religious and civil.

      I can just hear those illogical screeds coming from the Tory back benchers if the government decided to allow heterosexuals acess to CPs. Remember, they all said CPs would pave the way for marriage which is why many of them opposed such unions in the first place but now conveniently use them to justify a ban on equal marriage.

  2. What would be the point in straight couples having a civil partnership when they have civil marriage already or am I missing something here?

    Civil partnerships, as we know, are not fully the same as civil (or religious) marriage so why would opening them up to straight couples be of any benefit?

    1. A few people seem to dislike the misogynistic and religious baggage associated with the word “marriage”. They don’t seem to have grasped that civil partnership was only introduced as a compromise to allow same-gender couples a status like marriage without offending the theocrats, and probably aren’t aware of the legal disadvantages (like pensions and international recognition) they might have by choosing a civil partnership instead of a marriage. A worrying number of people really seem to be under the impression that marriage in the UK is controlled by the churches, and that civil partnership was only introduced because the churches were refusing to marry same-gender couples.

      1. Quite right, James. I’ve even come across people on PN who think marriage must be in a church. Well, it doesn’t! RELIGIOUS marriage is, of course, but CIVIL marriage is nothing to do with religion or tradition or whatever. Therefore, it’s the ideal choice for people who want to avoid such stuff. Except it’s not a choice for me because of my sexuality, and that really p*sses me off. It’s a legal agreement that we’re being denied access to for no valid reason.

        I personally don’t know any straight couples that would ‘downgrade’ their marriage to a CP. Even the ones that aren’t at all interested in LGBT matters have picked up the idea that it’s ‘lesser’ and ‘not quite marriage’. Most of my straight friends are non-religious and pretty disinterested in anything traditional and for them a civil marriage has been the answer, so there’d be no point them changing to a CP at all. As you say, if the UK had gone straight into equal civil marriage, we wouldn’t even have had them.

    2. Despite having marriage equality the Netherlands continue to operate a form of civil union (registered partnership). New Zealand is likely to do the same if marriage equality happens there – which it is looking like it will.

      The difference is that both these countries offered civil unions to both same and difference sex couples.

      They have been popular with different sex couples who want legal protection but don’t want to get married. In New Zealand, where feminists philosophy remains popular, some couples have rejected marriage as an institution they want to enter into because of how traditionally in dis empowered women. They also rejected how society traditionally put so much pressure on couples to marry and then the disasters because of this.

      I always thought it was quite odd and misguided that the British politicians didn’t also open civil unions up for different sex couples. There is room for both system,

      1. Don’t know about the dutch civil union but the NZ civil union isn’t like the British CP which was written in such a way as to mirror marriage. NZ civil unions are open to all but they are nothing like a CP or a marriage. it’s a partnership law ..

        1. I know NZ recognise British Civil Partnerships though. My other half is from NZ, after we had our service here we were going to NZ and wanted to do something there for the family but weren’t allowed to as it would be recognised.

    3. I went to a straight wedding in Switzerland to find that the couple had already got married (civil) that morning as their marriage in the church is not state recognised. So when we all arrived at the church they were already officially married.

      1. This is the process in the Netherlands also. I think it is great as they have totally separated civil marriage from religious marriage.

        The religious marriage has no legal status.

    4. roderious 6 Dec 2012, 8:09pm

      What would be the point in same sex couples having a civil marriage when they have civil partnerships already or am I missing something here?

      Marriages, as we know, are not fully the same as civil partnerships so why would opening them up to same sex couples be of any benefit?

      It’s often said that you can see the flaws in an argument by reversing it.

  3. That Matt 6 Dec 2012, 3:45pm

    Whilst I respect everything that Peter Tatchell does, there’s hardly a high demand by heterosexuals to downgrade their marriages to civil partnerships. Do you know of anybody that would rather a CP to a marriage? I honestly doubt any heterosexuals are bothered.

    That’s not to say that they shouldn’t have the right, of course, I just feel like it’s trying to equate CPs with marriages, when one is quite clearly inferior to the other.

    1. In New Zealand, civil unions are available to both same and different sex couples, up to 2010. As at 2010, although different sex couples have the choice of marriage of civil union, 23% of civil unions performed were for different sex couples.

      1. NZ civil unions are NOT like CPs or marriages!!!!. If a CP was like the French PACS or NZ civil union then fair enough give them to straights as well but CPs were a compromise with religions etc in order to avoid the word marriage.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Dec 2012, 4:53pm

      In France, PACs are far more popular among heterosexuals apparently. Whether there is demand or not for heterosexuals to have access to CPs, they should still be available to them.. The opposition to equal marriage use a similar argument when they say they’ve not found much demand for equal marriage among gays. It’s a very lame argument. It’s a question of full equality and fairness for everyone. If a couple, gay or straight doesn’t want to marry but would rather have something less universally accepted, then fine. It’s up to them to decide but at least have choice. I thoroughly agree with Peter Tatchell.

      1. PACS are not like marriages or CPs!!!!!

    3. Equality Network 6 Dec 2012, 4:57pm

      The Equality Network is aware of mixed-sex couples who would like a CP – those couples are unmarried at present and don’t want to marr,y but would like a CP. So for them it’s not a question of ‘downgrading’.

      In the Netherlands, where both CP and marriage are available to all couples, with virtually the same legal effects, about 1 in 10 mixed-sex partnerships registered are CPs, and 9 in 10 are marriages. For same-sex partnerships around 1 in 4 are CPs, and 3 in 4 are marriages.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Dec 2012, 6:00pm

        Well, it would be a downgrading if CPs were all that were available to straight couples and not marriage. Right now, gay couples who married outside the UK are not considered married once they set foot in the country. Further proof that they’re not equal to marriage and it matters not even if the rights are almost identical othewise there would be no need to call them by a different name. CPs are UK-centric and have no significance outside our borders. Theirr portability is extremely limited considering that all of the rights they contain are not reciprocated in other countries where non-married unions are legal and all varied. There is no universal standard for CPs and never will be.

      2. This is like keeping the separate drinking fountains, but abolishing the rules of who can use them. It’s a nonsense.

        After equal marriage is introduced, CPs will be nothing but a symbol of the second class treatment formerly meted out to us.

  4. Pavlos Prince of Greece 6 Dec 2012, 4:58pm

    Good and logical decision of Mr. Cameron and his government. Civil partnership has no sense, if: 1. same-sex marriage is legal. 2. it have same rights as marriage. And – existing of civil partnership in current form is now and will all ways be very best argument against marriage equality.

  5. GingerlyColors 6 Dec 2012, 5:10pm

    Fair shout. If we do continue having Civil Partnerships as an alternative to marriage should marriage equality become available then CP’s should be available for all. To deny hetrosexual couples the right to a Civil Partnership will only play into the hands of those who oppose LGBT rights.

    1. Spanner1960 7 Dec 2012, 3:01am

      But what precisely is the point?
      It’s like keeping watering troughs for horses at all filling stations, just in case…
      CP’s will be obsolete the minute marriages are approved.

  6. Civil partnerships are a joke and should never have been invented.

    I find it difficult to listen to people tell me they want one rather than a marriage because they word marriage insults their feminist sensibilities but don’t give a flying f$%k about the fact they were invented because people thought gay people shouldn’t be allowed equal rights. I also find it difficult to understand why they let other people/history/religion define their relationships.

    However, that being said, if they do continue to exist they should be open to all regardless of sexuality.

    I think the best thing to do is stop people from being able to register for CPs (after marriage equality obvs.). People with existing CPs should then be able to either register to ‘upgrade’ to a marriage or keep them and the state should still honour them.

    1. Agreed! I’m sick to the back teeth of those ‘feminists’ too who seem to think that some miraculous thing happens to a modern woman who gets married and then suddenly lets her husband walk all over her, never leaves the kitchen and now considers herself property. You what??! That’s bl**dy insulting and just plain stupid. A marriage is what you make it, and you don’t suddenly have to start living by 18th century standards just because you get married. Idiots!

      I also agree with your last paragraph as I think that’s probably the most sensible idea. What people call traditional marriage is actually ‘holy matrimony’ and it’s that – ie matrimony – that has all those religious/traditional connotations NOT civil marriage. We already have a non-religious civil union and it’s called civil marriage. It should be open to everyone regardless of sexuality.

    2. Absolutely spot on Joss..

  7. roderious 6 Dec 2012, 8:15pm

    I’m still suspicious that under the gay freindly facade the conservatives are putting on they are the same old tories. I’m particularly concerned that they haven’t ruled out abolishing civil partnerships, or even automatically converting existing partnerships into marriages. Can you imagine the uproar if someone suggested changing straight couples status without their consent?

    Assuming that civil partnerships are allowed to continue, how is it not discrimination to prevent straight couples from getting one? How is the argument that they shouldn’t any different to the one that says same sex couples shouldnt get married?

    I notice a few people on this thread have referred to ‘downgrading’ to cp’s implying that they are inferior to marriage. what does that say about their attitude to same sex caouples who have cp’s? I know several and their relationship is no less worthy than anyone with a marriage certificate.

    1. Spanner1960 7 Dec 2012, 3:04am

      Er..? Because it IS downgrading.
      CP’s were nothing but a fudged workaround.
      What’s the point of keeping version 1.0 when everyone now has version 2.0?

  8. I agree with Peter. In New Zealand, civil unions are open to straight couples.

  9. mickie_newton 6 Dec 2012, 9:53pm

    Everyone should have the option of either marriage or CP, regardless of sexual orientation! As we have all been arguing with regards to marriage equality, it’s the ‘choice’ to marry or not!

    1. Spanner1960 7 Dec 2012, 3:05am

      The choice is get married, or don’t get married.

      1. roderious 7 Dec 2012, 7:02pm

        Typical Tory attitude ‘never mind freedom of choice, YOU WILL DO WHAT WE TELL YOU TO DO!’

  10. I agree with LF. CPs are only like they are becuase the couldn’t bare to gay people marriage. CPs should be rewritten to reflect an alternative form of partnership more like a French PACS which was never intended to be like marriage and is open to all.

  11. Spanner1960 7 Dec 2012, 2:55am

    Tatchell continues to interfere, The man is a prat.

    CP’s were introduced as a fudge and a compromise by the Labour government in order to appease the religious right and give us marriage in virtuially everything but name. If (when) xame-sex civil marriage goes through WE WON’T NEED CIVIL PATERNERSHIPS!

    Jeez. It is just so hard work with some people. It is pointless and expensive to ruin two parallel systems; All CP’s should be upgraded to marriage at no cost and the entire farcical concept closed down.
    End of.

    1. Bang on on this one, Spanner.

    2. Completely agree Spanner – their very existence is a reminder of discrimination and prejudice. They were, sadly, born out of homophobia.

      You can ride the bus, but only sit in *those* seats.

  12. Civil Partnerships are a symbol of our second class status in society.

    They need to be abolished. Marriage for all is the only way forward.

  13. In France and the Netherlands, there is a big difference between civil unions and marriage. I can’t talk for NZ as I’m not familiar with the laws there. In the UK the difference between CPs and marriage is quasi-symbolic. The differences are so minimal that, as someone has mentioned, the only reason that straight couples might choose to have a CP is because they take issue with the historical significance of marriage.
    In my opinion, the argument we always make for equal marriage is that the world has evolved and marriage is no longer what it used to be and shouldn’t be restricted to straight couples. I don’t see the point in maintaining an institution (CP) that only exists because a former government caved to religious pressure not to allow same sex couples access to marriage. We should either come up with an actual alternative to marriage, or look ahead, focus on the rights of unmarried couples instead of continuing to drag on an institution that’s meaningless.

    1. In my opinion the only reason to retain CPs is if they were to be changed into something else. As they are, they belong in the wastebin of history. I apologise to people who are happily in one but it is a fact that this institution was created in order for them not to be able to get married.

  14. Jock S. Trap 7 Dec 2012, 11:58am

    I agree. CP’s should either be opened up to all or scrapped, upgrading all to Marriage Equally.

    Those bigots who say CP are adequate shouldn’t really have any problem opening Civil Partnerships up to all who wish to have them, including themselves. Chances are they won’t because they know in reality they are not equal. Nevertheless it should be for the choice of the people not bigots to whether they get marriage equally or have a civil partnership equally.

    If they are not I can see those same Very bigots screaming how we have more equality than them and using such arguments against us.

    I say lets not give them the ammunition!

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