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Peter Tatchell: Gay couples have legal advantage if civil partnerships are not offered to straight couples

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  1. Simple solution: stop offering civil partnerships to all couples, gay and straight.

    1. That wouldn’t work because some people want the rights of marriage without the connotations that come with the title. Better solution: allow straight and gay people to have civil partnerships.

      1. Only Civil Partnerships don’t have all the rights – if your dying in hospital you can’t get a CP, you can only get a Marriage (so until this is enacted you could die intestate and your partner get NOTHING). CPs were carefully drafted to make them look equal to marriage but in reality scalper money from LGBT.

      2. CIVIL marriages are free of any connotations – no religion, no tradition, no long, officious service. The last one I went to was as modern and connotation-free as could be. Everything was done as the bride and groom wished and it was an imaginative, artistic and beautiful thing. This couple could easily have chosen a religious wedding (her parents are quite religious) but they didn’t want the connotations of a traditional, religious marriage so they chose a civil wedding. That’s the whole point of them.

  2. I suspect that CPs will fade away and that there’ll be hardly any new CPs once we have equal marriage. That said, I do think people who already have a CP should be able to CHOOSE whether to change them to a civil marriage.

    Equal civil marriage will provide a non-religious, no traditional baggage attached, modern union for everyone regardless of their sexuality.

    1. I think the quoted £100 (or thereabouts) to change a civil partnership to a marriage is a bit steep considering that these couples have already had to fork out to pay for their civil partnership, anyone else agree?

      1. I agree. I was expecting a minimal admin charge like £20 or something.

      2. I agree. Especially as, through necessity, I had to have a civil partnership and did have to fork out for it. I had forty pounds in my head, which still seems like a slap in the face.

    2. “I suspect that CPs will fade away and that there’ll be hardly any new CPs once we have equal marriage.”

      Perhaps that will be the case if straights are not allowed to join CPs, but if they are, France suggests the trend will go the opposite way.

      In France, where both straights and gays can form a Pacte civil de solidarité (PACS), the number of new PACS (mainly among straights) is steadily increasing while the number of new marriages is steadily decreasing; eventually most people will choose PACS instead of marriage. For example, in 2010, 205,558 couples chose to become PACSed while 251,654 chose to get married.

      In 2010, only 4.5 % of PACS were same-sex.

      1. “eventually most people will choose PACS instead of marriage”

        Since PACS and marriage are very different I doubt that is correct. Unless PACS change.

        Also PACS are completely different to a UK civil partnership

  3. How do gay people have an advantage we been lumbered with CPs as the only way of recognising our relationships (and only since 2004). Heterosexual people have never suffered such a disadvantage and do not need anything less.

  4. I’m bisexual (Kinsey 5), with a male partner, and atheist. I would hugely prefer a civil partnership to a marriage. If I was horribly unlucky enough that my partner died before me, I would most probably have a female life partner next, and would want a civil partnership too. Marriage for me has too much historical, political and religious baggage for me to ever feel positive about it as a decision for myself. I’m very pleased that we seem to be inching along towards equal marriage for everyone, as the omission is IMO a serious breach of human rights and basic dignity – but I am still determined to wait for ‘straight’ civil partnership before my partner and I make it all official.

    1. the only problem is that Civil Partnerships were designed as a compromise and not to give people the full rights. Which is why I would never want a CP as a permanent reminder of the bigotry they were crafted under.

      1. Agreed. For me, CPs come with far more baggage than a civil wedding. A civil wedding is merely a legal registration and has none of the baggage of centuries old religious/traditional marriage at all.

    2. “Marriage for me has too much historical, political and religious baggage for me to ever feel positive about it as a decision for myself.”

      You don’t seem to understand the irony of what you are saying.

  5. If straight people want CPs then we should support them, otherwise we (including Peter) should mind our own business.

    1. Equality Network 11 Dec 2012, 6:11pm

      Some couples certainly DO want to register a mixed-sex CP. Peter is helping two such couples in an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

      The Netherlands has mixed-sex and same-sex marriages and CPs, with almost identical legal rights.There, 1 in 10 mixed-sex couples who register choose CP, and 9 in 10 choose marriage. For same-sex couples, 1 in 4 choose CP and 3 in 4 choose marriage. Can’t be sure of course whether the ratios would be the same here, but there is certainly a demand.

      1. Perhaps its time that all civil ceremonies were called “civil partnership” (but carry the full rights – which currently CPs don’t) that would certainly kill several birds with the same stone.

      2. The difference with Holland though was the CP was introduced for gays and straights at the same time and then gays eventually got marriage. CPs in the UK were exclusively for gays because we weren’t good enough to be given the word marriage and CPs were not good enough to give to straights. CPs are an insult to me.

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 11 Dec 2012, 6:48pm

    I’m all for alternate unions for heterosexuals and they’re fine as long as they intend to remain in the UK. Once you leave and settle down in another country, then portability of CP rights becomes a serious issue. There are no other countries offering identical CPs to the UK’s not even in Eire. Whereas, there are eleven countries where same-sex couples can marry, each of them recognising and reciprocating the marriage rights of the other. There is no such provision for a CP outside the UK in terms of the rights they confer. I wouldn’t want one personally. Marriage for me is the universal gold standard. CPs will never be universally accepted in the same way.

  7. Equality means
    The state or quality of being equal.

    Surely hetros who are evolved and have abandoned the hatred of superstition should be able to obtain a civil partnership –

    Religion is after all hurtling towards becoming obsolete.

  8. Let just get on with the business of marriage for gay people. We can worry about hetrosexuals rights after.

    But I for one would not wish to have a CP, created so that straight people wouldn’t have to share the institution of marriage with gay people.

  9. Hodge Podge 11 Dec 2012, 8:58pm

    Marriage is just a contract to stop your partner walking out on you and your family. It’s time to drop all the airy fairy bits.

    1. LOL since when has marriage stopped anyone from walking out on their partner or their family.

  10. Peter stop worry about majority

  11. Get rid of CPs altogether (perhaps allowing those already in them to retain that status) and bring in a French type partnership like the PACS which is completely different to both CPs and marriage (which are eftectively the same thing legally but not socially)

    As for the CofE being locked out then I can’t see what is much different to the arrangements they already have with regards to religious CPs…no CofE clegy are ever going to be able to do CPs or marriages without Synod approval (which wll never happen).

  12. I really don’t get this campaign to allow heterosexual civil partnerships. CPs only exist as a second hand ‘we don’t want you to have that but we’ll give you that’ institution in the first place. I think it muddies the water when there are people fighting genuine inequality in not allowing same-sex couples to marry. It’s putting on equal footing a genuine equality unfairness with something that nobody has ever asked for, really. I don’t see how it helps the LGBT cause by associating it with something complete irrelevant. I think it actually does harm to the campaign as it attempts to make everything almost a wash. “Well gays can’t get married – but straight people cannot have civil partnerships – so let’s all be outraged over nothing really in particular.’ – I think in the long run it does harm to the genuine cause. The focus and effort should be on fighting discrimination in law and not diverted to this silly ‘allow straight people to have CPs’ nonsense.

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