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Peter Tatchell: The equal marriage bill is commendable, but flawed

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  1. Jock S. Trap 26 Jan 2013, 12:14pm

    I agree this is wrong about Civil Partnerships. They should either be going for all or cancelled out when we have marriage equality. Don’t see the point of a two tier system!

    1. Personally I would rather follow the example set in Sweden and Denmark where marriage has replaced civil partnerships (except for existing ones – which can either be retained or changed to marriages). I don’t see the value to society as a whole of promoting two similar but not quite equal relationships.

      But Peter is absolutely right. If you are going to keep them at ll then they should be available to mixed sex couples alike.

    2. TheBrutalKremlin 29 Jan 2013, 6:50pm

      I am in a CP, I don’t want ‘marriage’ I don’t want to be forced into a ‘marriage’ It is for straight people or religio-nuts. No great civil rights war is going to be won from this. You all can stuff your ‘equality’ – this whole thing has been mishandled as a way to stick it back to the straights by angry queers and paid lobbyists. And Tatchell is an attention-seeking fraud.

  2. Peter is right in principle about this. Though whether this issue is worth so much attention and energy at this time in history when LGBT people are locked in a war with fundamentalist religionists who want to stop us getting married at home, and who are imprisoning and publicly hanging LGBT people abroad, is another question entirely.

    With limited time, energy and resources, we have to pick our fights well. And I certainly don’t think that many people, LGBT or hetero, will be losing sleep over heterosexuals not being able to enter into civil partnerships, which in my view were always a compromise marriage-lite institution for people society deemed to be not good enough for the real thing.

    Whether a marriage is “patriarchal” depends on the behaviour of the people in it, by the way. The word “marriage” does not make a union “patriarchal”. Should we abolish the word “father” for the same reason?

    1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 2:51pm

      This comment does not deserve the likes that it has. Compare your argument, with this: ‘We have atrocious levels of poverty in the world, the economy is in an awful state and our political system needs fixing. Whether gay marriage is worth so much attention when at this time in history when we are suffering from all these other problems, is another question entirely.’

      This is an argument against gay marriage. I very much imagine that you are against this argument. Stop being hypocritical. Equality means equality; homosexual and heteorosexual marriages, AND civil partnerships.

      1. David

        Your hectoring tone on this comments page reminds me of an outraged headmaster lambasting his charges for failing to sing loudly enough during hymn practice. You and Peter have a case for arguing that CPs should be available to heteros, but please don’t let your anger and righteous indignation drown out the perspectives of other people commenting here, or rating others’ comments here.

        As for your argument above: if I had thought that equal marriage was impeding the improvement of world poverty, the UK economy and our political system, I would be willing to sacrifice SSM. But it does not, and I do not. On the other hand, claiming LGBTs are being given more rights than heteros re CPs, distracts from the SSM campaign, and plays into the hands of right-wing religionists: read Andy Preston’s PN comments http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/25/comment-the-conservative-party-has-come-a-long-way-on-gay-rights-to-legislate-for-equal-marriage/comments/

        1. Superbly put, Gazza!

        2. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 4:52pm

          You very much miss the point. I will try to put this as clearly as I can. I encourage anybody who read my previous comment to read this.

          Imagine if somebody wrote an article about why we should have gay marriages. Somebody responds with the red herring argument: ‘Author is right in principle about gay marriage. Whether this issue is worth attention and energy at this time in history when the economy is in trouble, people are living in poverty etc, is another question.’

          Don’t you see? This type of argument is used against gay marriage, to discriminate against LGBT. The fact that the awful things that you are talking about are occuring is irrelevant. Stop LGBT discrimination AND make civil partnerships equal!

          1. David

            You have said nothing new. And my comment above has addressed your points already. You need to read it carefully, and try to understand it, if you can be bothered to do so.

          2. You make perfect sense, David. Your tone isn’t hectoring. I have witnessed gay marriage proposals being rejected for those very reasons, as I’m sure have most of us.

            I’m sorry you are being relentlessly downvoted by the clique here. Or maybe it’s the sockpuppets. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

        3. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 5:12pm

          Let me put this as clearly as possible.

          Imagine an article arguing for gay marriage. Imagine a similar red herring response: ‘The author is right in principle about this. Though whether this issue is worth attention and energy at this time in history the economy is so weak, when people are living in poverty etc, is another question entirely. I also do not think many gay people will be losing sleep about not being able to have a civil partnership’

          I imagine you would not appreciate this response. Saying that there are more important things to worry about serves no purpose execpt to insinuate that since there are bigger things to worry about, we shouldn’t care about gay marriage/equal civil partnerships. If people want a marriage, or civil partnership, they should be able to get one regardless of the sexual orientation! Discrimination is discrimination. Stop using the arguments that are used against gay marriage, against straight civil partnershps.

          1. David

            You are still doing it. It’s fine to present arguments, but you also need to read and make an effort to understand any counterarguments. This is a discussion thread, where people should be prepared to listen to others, and not an arena for a battle of the egos.

            I have said this before, but let me try again.

            The comparison you draw is false. Legislating for equal marriage *is not* to the detriment of anything else. Arguing that the new equal marriage bill discriminates against heteros and gives more rights to LGBT people than hetero people *is* to the detriment of the campaign to enact the bill at this crucial time. Right wing religionists are already pouncing on what Peter has said to portray the bill as giving gay people more rights than heteros. This is undermining the important campaign for SSM, espcially when this point about heteros and CPs is so absolutely peripheral. CPs were never intended for heterosexuals. They were an LGBT substitute for marriage.

    2. TheBrutalKremlin 29 Jan 2013, 6:52pm

      ‘pick our fights well’ – yeah like attention-seeking Tatchell trying to lower the age of consent to 14 last week. ugh.

  3. Peter is right. I agree with the comments above that it is not a priority but he is right to put his thoughts on record. My feeling is that if heterosexuals want CPs they can campaign for them as we have campaigned for marriage.

    1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 2:56pm

      Compare what you said: ‘My feeling is that if heterosexuals want CPs they can campaign for them as we have campaigned for marriage.’

      With: ‘My feeling is that if homosexuals want gay marriage they can campaign for them’ Notice the word ‘they’, implying that the writer will not help in the campaign. This also implies that non-LGBT people did not help in the campaign for gay marriage. Human rights are human rights, and we should all be striving for them regardless of our sexuality. Heterosexuals should campaign alongside LGBT for LGBT rights. It should also work the other way around.

      1. homosexuals DID “campaign for them”.

        so in your mind, LGBT people should now go out and start the fight to gain heterosexuals equality in regard to CPs?

        I can think of a few considerably more important fights left to fight for the LGBT community than assuring ourselves that the over-privileged majority gain an extra right.

        I’m sure the vast majority of LGBT people would support heterosexuals’ right to CPs.

        But there’s a difference between supporting them, and going out and starting the fight FOR them. If there is truly a need for heterosexual CPs, then let a heterosexual couple start the ball rolling with a court challenge. After all, it wasn’t heterosexuals who started the battle for same-sex marriage equality.

        1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:27pm

          Regardless of your sexual orientation, you should be for equality. What I am saying is that LGBT people should be for straight civil partnerships. Heterosexuals should fight for LGBT rights. Human rights are human rights.

          My point is that it is simply wrong and incosistent to support gay marriage, but remain neutral with regards to straight civil partnerships. Or to simply say anything implying that it is ‘their’ fight. The fight belongs to all of us. Heterosexuals should fight for gay marriage, and homosexuals should fight for same sex civil marriage.

          1. David, we have more than enough on our hands already just HOPING that the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill” will make it through both the Commons and the Lords, and in the face of the extraordinary opposition from the vast number of homophobes, amongst the general population as well as in parliament and the churches, who have shown their faces in this country over the past six months!

            It would be utterly ridiculous of us now to consider that our priority should be to demand that heterosexuals be given the right to Civil Partnerships, and particularly when there is clearly no movement amongst heterosexuals for this “right”. Heterosexuals are simply not clamouring for this “right”.

            I think you need to ask yourself if you are not inclined to sabotaging yourself, to shooting yourself in the foot!

          2. “What I am saying is that LGBT people should be for straight civil partnerships”

            But we already have them for straight people, David. They’re called civil marriages…

            I understand a small number of people might not like that name, but I’m sure they don’t agree on what would be the best name, so should we have a menu of civil union options so we can all take our pick? No. Have a religious/traditional marriage or a civil marriage – or if you really want an absolute and totally only legal thing then draw up a contract to your own specific desires and call it what you want.

            We don’t need another option in my opinion – and the only people I know who dislike marriage wouldn’t have a CP anyway because they see it as an ‘inferior’ form of marriage – ie the very thing they dislike but just under a diiferent name becauise it’s for same sex couples.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Jan 2013, 3:24pm

        But David, straight people have campaigned for equal marriage. Look at the number of those of notoriety in the Out4Marriage video campaign and the majority of heterosexuals in Parliament supporting them who have spoken out. Without them, it wouldn’t be happening.

        That said, I would expect resistance by the majority of Tories to opening CPs for straight couples and some religious nutters would blame equal marriage and gay people in particular supporting CPs for both orientations.

        1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:30pm

          ‘straight people have campaigned for equal marriage’ – EXACTLY!

          I wrote the comment because, amongst other things, I was against the insinuation that straight people have not campaigned for equal marriage. If i were to say: ‘Let gay people fight for LGBT rights, it is their fight’ I would be mocked, and quite rightly so.

          1. NO one has said that straights didn’t help in the fight for marriage equality.

            do NOT twist people’s words.

            what people are saying is that if heterosexuals really want CPs, then let them start the ball rolling.

            It isn’t up to the LGBT community to start a fight for straights.

      3. Now you are just being silly, David. I did not imply that Gay people would not or should not support a campaign for straight CPs. At the moment there does not seem to be any significant interest in it from opposite sex couples. I don’t consider it my place to insist on it on their behalf.

    2. And we can get funny about it and call it immoral?

  4. Christopher 26 Jan 2013, 1:47pm

    Ugh! Can this guy go away..

    1. No but can you?

    2. TheBrutalKremlin 29 Jan 2013, 6:55pm

      Precisely – he is a media whore, will say anything for attention, and does not speak for me. I am so sick of his lame-assed ideas – he f*cked it up royally in Russia – now wants to lower the age of consent in the UK – talk about a timing problem – right when the churches are freaking out of marriage – PLEASE get rid of him!

  5. This issue isn’t just about heterosexuals. Many bisexuals are in mixed-sex relationships, and may want nothing to do with the institution of marriage, which has long been open to us for some of our relationships but not others.

    1. Spanner1960 26 Jan 2013, 8:37pm

      So tough. Don’t get married then.

  6. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 2:29pm

    Very disappointed with the readers of PinkNews. Compare the following arguments (The first is a real quote, the second is made up):

    1. PinkNews (website): ‘whether this issue is worth so much attention and energy at this time in history when LGBT people are locked in a war with fundamentalist religionists…imprisoning and publicly hanging LGBT people abroad, is another question entirely.’
    With ‘We have atrocious levels of poverty in the world, the economy is in an awful state and our political system needs fixing. Whether gay marriage is worth so much attention when at this time in history we are suffering from all these other problems, is another question entirely.’

    2. PinkNews (fb): ‘I have never heard a straight couple complain that they cannot have a CP. What will be the point of CP when we have marriage equality ?’
    With: ‘I have never heard of a gay couple complain that they cannot have a gay marriage. What will be the point when they can have a civil partnership?’

    1. David, you refer to two quotes but in fact you’ve given four. Besides, your point is not clear. Would you care to clarify?

      1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 2:48pm

        You misunderstand.
        1. PinkNews (website): ‘whether this issue is…’ is a real quote from here.
        “With ‘We have atrocious levels of..” is something that I made up.

        The same goes for number 2. I actually had more examples, but a word limit cut me off and forced me to be laconic.

        Let me put this as clearly as I can: The same arguments that people are using against gay marriage, are being used here against this article. Hypocrisy.

        1. I think you are completely misrepresenting the responses to this article.
          either you are doing so purely to be argumentative, or you actually do not understand what people are saying.

          No one is saying there shouldn’t be a fight for straight CPs.
          What they are saying is, for now, it’s not our fight to start.
          If straights want them, let them start the movement for it.

          Besides, who better than a heterosexual couple to actually start the fight, launch a court/constitutional challenge.

          Most of your posts on this topic so far have been quite disingenuous.

          1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:35pm

            Let me be clear. People are saying this:
            ‘Straight civil partnerships are not a priority. Therefore, we should not really be campaigning about them. It is their fight, not ours’.

            That is the equivelant of saying:
            ‘Gay marriage is not a priority. Therefore, we should not really be campaiging about them. It is their (LGBT people) fight, not ours’
            This is clearly wrong. The fact that there are other more pressing issues is entirely irrelevant and a red herring. The fight also belongs to all of us, and not speaking out (or objecting to somebody else speaking out) because it does not effect you, is wrong.

            My posts have not been disingenous.

          2. @David Harvey: “My posts have not been disingenous.”

            Sorry to have to say that either your posts HAVE been disingenuous, David, OR you need to enrol for “Logic 101″.

        2. I don’t see it as hypocrisy.
          To put it another way you might as well advocate “hey, some white folks might want to be restricted to the back of the bus, let’s not leave them out of this impending legislation”.
          The entire raison d’etre of CPs was this “Seperate but equal” fudging to appease some reactionary types who didn’t even want us to have that.
          In principle I’m all for the equality thing but I don’t honestly see straight couples queuing round the block to have their marriages deemed “seperate but equal”, for very good reason.
          “Seperate but equal” is a thinly veiled dogwhistle way of presenting gay marriage as “Second class, don’t worry folks we both know your straight arrangements are superior but we don’t want to prod the elephant in the room”.
          In this day and age, the patriarchal heritage of trad marriage is pretty much a thing of the past, therefore irrelevant to all but those couples who volunteer to define their roles in a 1950’s Stepford bubble.

          1. Yes, I agree with Flapjack and Mikey, that what David has now succeeded in stating as being his point is not actually a matter of hypocrisy at all. It is a matter of priorities.

            One mustn’t confuse the setting of priorities with hypocrisy.

          2. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:40pm

            Your example is completely irrelevant and a non-sequitar. Really.

            It does not matter if straight couples are ‘queing round the block’ for civil partnerships. Civil partnerships that allow same sex couples but not opposite sex couples are unequal. This is about equality. This works on principle, but hopefully you will understand the point if even ONE couple who desire a civil partnership on the grounds that they are a straight couple, that is discrimination and simply wrong.

            If you are ‘all for the equality thing’, then you MUST be for straight civil partnerships. Anything else is discrimination.

          3. I’m fine with straight people having CPs if they really really want them but I file it under the heading “pyhrric victories”.
            Sure CPs are equal, if by equal you mean “seperate but (not) equal”.
            What would be the point? They already have the preferred option in the bag, why volunteer for second class?

          4. Good explanation, Flapjack.

        3. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Jan 2013, 3:33pm

          In France, more heterosexuals than gays are opting for PACs, the French verson of CPs, same in Holland. It matters not if there is a demand, it’s just the right thing to do, freedom of choice and it is overwhelmingly heterosexuals in several governments who have introduced equal marriage as well as CPs or their equivalents. Why shouldn’t a heterosexual have choice if that’s the type of legal union they want to form? It’s nobody’s business but theirs. You don’t even have to like or believe in equal marriage or CPs for that matter, but neither should be denied to anyone who wants them even if you personally do not agree. That’s what democracy is about, treating all people fairly and equally under the law.

          1. Fine, Robert, fine, in theory. And someone else has pointed towards the popularity of CPs amongst heterosexuals in Holland. But listen, can you actually hear an even slightly impressive number of heterosexuals in this country, the UK, crying out with fury that the Bill published yesterday will not grant them the ability to form CPs?

            If such a voice is heard, then of course I am sure we will all support it, and so will the government, I am sure. So let’s wait and hear if sufficient heterosexuals are incensed. Meanwhile, let’s get writing to our MPs regarding what may very well not actually eventualise for us: Marriage for Same Sex Couples!

          2. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Jan 2013, 4:53pm

            Eddy, I think you may have misconstrued what I said. I support Peter Tatchell’s view regarding CPs for straight couples. Personally, my partner and I didn’t want a CP so we have waited to truly ‘tie the knot’ to have a genuine wedding and marriage. The most important thing now is to secure equal marriage. I don’t think it’s going to be an ‘if’ situation. I think it will pass.

            I doubt very much if sufficient heterosexuals will become incensed because they are not allowed access to CPs and if they did, I suspect the very same opponents of equal marriage would exploit the issue in exactly the same way and of course, gay people would be the scapegoats yet again.

            The government should just get equal marriage on the statute books and then address the CP issue, assuming it is one, for heterosexuals.

          3. Hi Robert. I understood you perfectly before, and I understand your latest post too, which, I’m pleased to see, makes it clear that you consider the Same Sex Couples Bill the priority.

            P.S. I hope you’re not looking down on the quality of my and my partner’s CP! (Just joking!)

  7. Well, if I may dare to suggest a positive way of viewing the government’s decision not to “extend” Civil Partnerships to heterosexuals, perhaps the Bill provides us with evidence that the government acknowledges that Civil Partnerships were in fact a mediocre or second-rate measure designed purely to placate homosexual people and therefore simply not good enough for anybody, and, therefore, to be replaced by Marriage.

    If the Marriage Bill succeeds, who amongst us is going to choose a Civil Partnership instead of Marriage? I suspect that in a few years’ time, once most of us have upgraded our Civil Partnerships to Marriage, the Civil Partnership option will be removed.

    Since yesterday my partner and I have been relishing the prospect of the upgrade by calling each “Husband!” If you’re a gay male then being able to call your partner “Husband” has an extraordinary power! No doubt many a lesbian at this time is looking forward to addressing her partner as “Wife!”

    1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:00pm

      ‘If the Marriage Bill succeeds, who amongst us is going to choose a Civil Partnership instead of Marriage?’ – I imagine many people. And regardless of number, if civil partnerships are open to same sex couples, they should very much be open to opposite sex couples. It is about equality. I thought people here understood that?

      Also: ‘In the Netherlands, where civil marriages and civil partnerships are available to all couples – gay and straight – the vast majority of civil partnerships are between heterosexual men and women’. This implies that, in answer to your question, many same sex couples will want civil partnerships. But they will not be allwed them here…

      1. let me use your type of logic, David:

        compare the two statements:
        “if civil partnerships are open to same sex couples, they should very much be open to opposite sex couples.”

        “if slavery is open to black people, it should be to other races as well.”

        See? when one takes your tack in all of these arguments, even you sound like a right idiot.

        CPs were a stopgap solution, one designed to deny equality to a minority group. Now that that very equality has been (or is being) granted to the minority in question, you don’t find it ridiculous that the very majority who limited the rights of that minority, are now asking for access to the same “stopgap solution”?

        “hey! I want the right to be a 2nd class citizen too!!!”

        1. Eloquently put, Mikey.

        2. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:47pm

          Wow. How embarrasing for you. That argument does not work. Really. Your point is moot. I want everybody who thought that that comment was smart to read this. Read on if you want to know why that point is irrelvant:

          If you object to: ‘“if civil partnerships are open to same sex couples, they should very much be open to opposite sex couples.” because of: ‘“if slavery is open to black people, it should be to other races as well.”’

          Then you would have to object to: “If marriages are open to straight couples, they should very much be open to gay couples” because of: “if slavery is open to black people, it should be to other races as well.”

          I highly doubt you are against the argument that marriages should be open to gay couples because they are open to straight couples.

          it is simply wrong and discriminatory to argue that civil partnerships should not be open to same sex couples when you argue that marriage should be open to gay people.

          1. Honey, you’re losing it.

            In trying to reverse my argument and use it against me, you proved my very point.

            Give up now while you’re only slightly behind.

            You keep making grandiose accusations of hypocrisy, yet not a single person has said “there is no need for hetero CPs”.

            The ONLY thing that is being said, and you would do well to actually READ CAREFULLY, is “hetero CPs is not our fight to START”.

            If heterosexuals really want them, then it will, in very short order, be known that they do. Even one couple asking for it will be enough. But let them demonstrate that there IS that need.

            If the government suddenly announces that they are actually phasing out CPs entirely, then the point becomes moot (BTW, you really need to look up the meaning of “moot”).

            Marriage is a commitment that directly affects society. At least, that is what it is supposed to be. It cements bonds. If all you want is to shack up and get a few tax breaks, that’s another issue completely.

          2. So it’d be esaier to do away with CPs then, David? (genuine question) That way all couples would have the same options no matter what their sexuality. I understand that it was a small number of people pushing for CPs to be retained else the government would have scrapped them anyway.

            Maybe it’d have been simpler for the government to have done that (got rid of CPs)?

    2. Well some gay people aren’t a fan of the idea of same-sex marriage. Some are very happy with civil partnerships as they don’t like the implications behind the term marriage. I’ve read the same point of view from some straight people who want to be able to have a civil partnership because they don’t like the implications e.g. religious that exist in the concept of marriage. The main argument that Peter Thatchell is making is either eliminate civil partnerships altogether so that only marriages exist or allow both so that the people who do prefer civil partnership to marriage (of which there are quite a few both gay and straight) have the opportunity to choose that. As it stands we are going to have marriage and civil partnerships for gays but only marriage for straights even though not all straight people necessarily want to be married.

      1. There ARE no religious implications in civil marriage! Religion doesn’t own marriage and never has. Only *religious* marriage has any religious connotations. Civil marriage is non-religious and non-traditional – ie a legal matter without any baggage from any religion or any traditions.

  8. ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of NINE to 13. NONE feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great JOY.
    While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that NOT ALL SEX INVOLVING CHILDREN IS, ABUSIVE and harmful.’ Sir Jimmy Saville 1997

    Oops sorry Peter Tatchell wrote that ! Yes the self-styled ‘human rights’ activist has always been keen on ending the ‘discrimination’ of adults having sex with children.
    ‘Some straight men and women don’t like the patriarchal traditions of marriage’ – an oxymoron.

    1. On this very strange site, Ray, you will certainly find yourself marked down.

      But you speak truth. And I hate Tatchell.

      1. No “Adam”, Ray has not spoken the truth at all. Peter rightly distinguishes between the abuse of children and behaviour initiated happily and innocently by children. Both exist, and both are acknowledged.

      2. Adam ,I’m hoping it’s Tatchell’s vile comments that have the thumbs down and not me for exposing his vile ideology of the ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships’ – If it was the latter it means that many pink readers think that having sex with kids is ok .This was after all the hypocrite who demonised the Catholic Church with his witch-finder general / anti-Catholic rally demonstrating when the Pope visited these dark lands and his conspiracy theory nuttiness about secret Vatican vaults and secret orders : http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0329.htm

        Did he give the names of the adults abusing children to the police or are the names in the secret vaults of the Tatchell Foundation ?

    2. Peter Robertson 27 Jan 2013, 8:42am

      While I am convinced that the vast majority of child-adult sexual relationships are harmful, I have yet to be persuaded that all must be. It seems likely that a few may well be positive experiences for those concerned, and that seems to be Peter’s point. The impossible question is how to distinguish the small number of cases where there may have been no harm from the majority where the full weight of the law must be brought to bear. The only practical position we have found is to treat them all as harmful.

  9. Peter Tatchell turns my stomach. Why does this apologist for paedophilia get so much space here?

    1. Adam123

      Although I think that Peter Tatchell’s campaign for heterosexual civil partnerships is badly timed and represents a serious misjudgment of priorities, it is very unfair of you to call him an “apologist for paedophilia.”

      What he has been discussing is anomalies in the law where one of both partners is just under the age of consent, or one just under, and one just over. The Police have to make decisions as to whether to prosecute in such circumstances, and it seems to be a legal grey area. It is also the case that the age of consent is 14 in some EU member states, and so the issue of the age of consent seems to be a legitimate one to raise for discussion.

      My view is that 16 is the right age of consent, and that the Police should be given discretion where prosecution is concerned where ages are close to that.

      By the way, paedophilia is sexual activity with a PREPUBESCENT child: i.e. under approx 11. I am sure Peter would never condone that in any circumstances.

      1. ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of NINE to 13. NONE feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great JOY.
        While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that NOT ALL SEX INVOLVING CHILDREN IS, ABUSIVE and harmful.’ Tachell

        Tatchell is talking about adults having sex with kids – it can’t be any more blunter ! ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships’ might be a clue , as is ‘had sex with adults from the ages of NINE to 13. NONE feel they were abused.’

        Yes he’s a self-styled ‘human rights’ activist right enough !

        1. Ray

          My understanding is that he wrote those words a long time ago.

          People make mistakes in their judgments, and if all of us were forever labelled and defined by our historical mistakes and shortcomings, we would all be in a terrible mess.

          Is there nothing you have ever done in your life that you now regret? Perhaps something you would be mortified about other people finding out about? Is there nothing you have ever said that you now regret and reject, and would hate other people to know about? Would you like to be defined in the public mind forever by those mistakes? Would that be fair to you?

          In the 70s and 80s, the sexual liberation movement was still influenced by revolutionary Marxist thinkers such as Marcuse, who had some crazy ideas. Time has moved on.

          1. The Frankfurt School of Marxism is very much alive today Gazza, hence the drive for distorting marriage into so-called ‘equal marriage’ and dismantling institutions and moralities .He wrote the particular letter to the Guardian in 1997 which is not long ago.

            Tatchell was a member of the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970’s which had links to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and Paedophile Information Exchange (both championed by Harriet Harman ) so is a veteran campaigner for the ‘positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships’ and ‘boy-love’ .
            As far as i know Tatchell has not withdrawn these words, apologised or told the police the names of the adults having sex with children aged 9 to 13 .

          2. Ray

            You do rather sound like someone who has stepped out of a Monty Python sketch. The Frankfurt School of Marxism, indeed! Though I think I remember it: it was the red building next to the Ministry of Funny Walks.

            You write out of turn when you say what you do about the Gay Liberation Front, and what Peter Tatchell and Harriet Harman have “campaigned” for and “championed.” Loose, vague references of that kind suit the propaganda of zealotry.

            What makes you think that Peter Tatchell knows the names of the adults you refer to? And what do you think about senior Catholic clerics protecting child-abusing priests from prosecution: actually moving the priests into different parishes and in one case of a senior priest still in office, swearing the victims to secrecy? Do you think that had anything to do with the Frankfurt School of Marxism as well?

    2. This is untrue and libellous. Peter has never apologised for paedophillia, but he does have the courage to speak out when he feels it necessary . He is a brave man who has done so much for gay rights and human rights – I just wish I had a tenth of the courage he has. What have you ever done Adam which is in ANY way comparable to his achievements? Until you do, why don’t you just shut up?

  10. Craig Nelson 26 Jan 2013, 3:31pm

    There are of course some heterosexual couples who prefer for CPs. Of course we should campaign on their behalf. On the other hand LGBT people have and continue to endure a very long legacy of discrimination while heterosexuals continue to be priviledged in society in a number of ways (e.g. access to religion to sanctify one’s relationship, which, odd exception apart, LGBT people will be excluded from for quite some time to come). Plus of course heterosexuals are the overwhelming component of society (90-95%) and so don’t suffer from being a small minority tryng to get their voice heard. LGBT people have been debating marriage for a long time. I think that heterosexuals themselves need to debate the issue and come to a view, rather than just a handfull of couples deciding for the whole of society, even though they do have my personal support.

  11. PersonaIly, I agree with Flapjack, Eddy, Mikey and others here. CPs were only called that in order to not tread on religious toes (even though they are CIVIL, some religions still fussed as they’re doing now about the word ‘marriage’). They were NOT introduced as some kind of alternative to marriage for those who think that word has ‘traditonal’ or ‘patriarchal’ connotations.

    If those people, straight, gay, bi, really feel so strongly about that whole ‘marriage being a bad word’ thing, they can launch a separate campaign to introduce an alternative to civil marriages.

    The current campaign is to end the ‘separate but (not) equal’ idea of same sex couples having to have a CP rather than simply a civil marriage like any straight couple are entitled to have. This is patently unfair. as one’s gnedr and/or sexuality should have nothing to do with it.

    1. *gender! (I’m a crap typist!)

  12. One example that always come into my mind is that an intersex friend of mine has their gender listed as male on their birth certificate but it could equally have been listed as female (for medical reasons).

    One gender listing allows them to marry their boyfriend, one doesn’t – but they’re still the same person. It’s illogical and unjust.

  13. I think the issue here is about the people who believe civil marriage somehow still invokes ‘traditional’ connotations and so want something different.

    Are there that many people who believe that now? That’s a genuine question – I don’t know the answer. If I had to guess, I’d say very few people. I only know two people (both straight) who have no wish to marry, but they wouldn’t have a CP either because for them the issue is one of ‘freedom’, being an individual or however they would put it.

    Surely most people who dislike traditional religious marriage will just have a nice civil marriage with no religion, no woman being ‘given away’, no hangovers from the past? A very modern option, in my opinion, and nothing like ‘holy matrimony’ at all.

    1. And I just remembered a family friend who was so against marriage that she had a lawyer draw up a legal agreement which she and her future husband signed. No marriage connotations there! It was quite complicated though, I think (because it was rarely done).

  14. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 3:56pm

    There are so many problematic comments here. Let me address the points here. Feel free to reply here, as it keeps the comments in the one place.

    1. People are using a ‘Red herring’ argument. This is taking the form of ‘there are bigger things to worry about’. If you do not accept this type of argument with regards to gay marriage (there are bigger things to worry about than gay marriage, so be quiet), then don’t accept this with regards to civil partnerships.

    2. Numbers. People are arguing that the demand for straight civil partnerships is just not that high. This is irrelevant: Imagine if just 1 gay couple wanted to get married. Would that not be sufficient to allow gay marriages? Be consistent

    3. It is ‘their’ fight. If no gay people had ever complained about marriages discriminating, then I would still argue for gay marriages and would not knock down for speaking against discrimination in the law. Anybody can speak out against discrimination in law.

    1. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 26 Jan 2013, 4:04pm

      Having read through all your posts, Mr. Harvey, it seems to me that there is truth in what you say but you’re a bit like the demented dad who, while the floodwaters are pouring into his house and the rest of the family is rushing upstairs with as many bits of furniture as they can, insists that it’s of the utmost importance that he stay downstairs to concentrate on fixing the boiler so that the heating will come on as usual this evening! ;-)

      1. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 4:33pm

        Care to explain why? I completely argue against that accusation. It seems very much unfounded.

        1. You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.

          1. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 26 Jan 2013, 8:56pm

            And you can take a whore to water but you cannot make HER think! :-)

    2. OK, now you’re just being obtuse.

      1. There ARE bigger things affecting the LGBT community that need to be addressed. And starting a fight that by all rights is not ours to start is the wrong decision. It wasn’t heterosexuals who started the long fight for marriage equality. It was the LGBT community. It is NOT the LGBT minority’s place to start the fight to give rights to the hetero majority.

      2. NO one is saying that the numbers don’t justify it. Not in the way you are making it out to seem. What people ARE saying is: if there are numbers that warrant it (and in my own responses I DO specify that one single couple is enough), then the ball WILL get rolling. But AGAIN, this refers back to point 1., which is: this is not our fight to START.

      3. Sooooo the truth comes out? You’re some straight dude? Well, if so, you obviously don’t understand what it is like to be part of a persecuted minority. If you’re so for hetero CPs, then start the fight yourself.

      1. continuation of point 3.

        YES, the fight for CPs for hetero people is “their fight”. As members of the LGBT community, as far as we know right now, there is no call for access to CPs. If there is, who best to make that call than a hetero couple?

        Now, in the interest of full disclosure: I am personally against the very concept of Civil Partnerships.
        Not against civil marriage.
        I am against anything that waters down the obligations and rights that are inherent in the institution of marriage as we have come to know it in the last decades.
        I am against divorce.
        I am against “serial wedders”.

        And yes, I am actually legally married.

      2. David Harvey 26 Jan 2013, 4:41pm

        1. There may be bigger things affecting the LGBT community. My point is that this is IRRELEVANT! What would you think if the government shelved plans to deal with gay marriage because they thought there were bigger things to worry about? The fact that there are bigger things to worry about is irrelevant except to insinuate that because there are bigger things to worry about, we should not care.

        2. Bear in mind that this post was not just about people being behind the idea of making civil partnerships equal, but about people attacking or criticising the author for being behind the idea. Not only does the fight belong to everyone (as the fight for equality in marriage belongs to everyone) but people have no grounds for countering the point Peter is making.

        3. My sexuality is irrelevant. Homosexuals are oppressed! I understand this completely. This is why i am so mortified: people here are using the arguments that are used to discriminate against them, to discriminate against others!

        1. As a bisexual myself I fully agree with your logic and views on this subject.

          Everyone should be equal before the law Gay Straight or Bi or Transgender and just because some people think it isn`t an important issue at the moment doesn`t mean it`s right to dismiss it.

          Yes Civil partnerships should be opened up to straight couples too either that or they should be removed altogether to make it fully equal for all couples.

          Yes homosexuals are still oppressed especially within society even in 2013 in Britain and especially in other parts of the world and the news in Russia this past week just proves this which is very sad in 2013.

          I also understand why some gay people on here make a point however about there still being issues that the LGBT community need to address such as homophobia in society and in our schools etc these issues are very important and need to be addressed so I kind of understand their logic too regarding Civil partnerships being not so important right now.

          1. I would be interested to hear from you, Ciaran, why a bisexual should feel such a strong and pressing need for a third option, in addition to religious marriage, and plain old sign-the-documents registry-office marriage.

            I cannot see how a third option for heterosexuals (including bisexuals) could so advantage them, and nor can I see why heterosexuals (including bisexuals) should wish that third option to be the second-rate affair whipped up to satisfy homosexual people a number of years ago.

    3. Hi David. I see the issue of a non-marriage civil union as separate from the equal marriage campaign. If we had gone straight into equal marriage and not had CPs, would you then expect all those same sex couples who had got married to be involved in a later campaign to introduce a non-marriage civil union? I would think not. Sure, some people might like the idea & want to be involved but married same sex couples would be under no compulsion to hell, would they? That situation (there being no CP stepping stone to EM) shows my point, I hope.

      Now, you’ll say but we DO have CPs, but I still think that the fight for a non-marriage civil union open to all is separate from that of equal marraige rights. I see what Peter Tatchell’s saying – technically, it’s not equality if CPs still exist but are only open to same sex couples. But to me CPs are NOT the non-marriage civil union answer, they were only introduced as a stepping stone for a specific reason and don’t give exactly the same rights.

      1. *compulsion to HELP! (tired and clumsy today – sorry)

      2. In addition, I believe CPs will fade away naturally, so the inequality will be removed. People will either go for a religious marriage aka holy matrimony or they’ll go for a civil marriage – ie non-religious, no stuff about procreation or long bible readings or service, no pomp or ceremony other than what the couple CHOOSE to have.

        For me, a civil marriage is completely free of any baggage from traditional religious marriage. It’s a legal union. Surely it’s how you act in your marriage/union that matters not the name? You can have a modern civil wedding yet still have an old-fashioned attitude ie wife stays in the kitchen, etc, or you can have a traditional church wedding with all the vows and the King James bible yet have a very modern marriage where both people are equal. Having a marriage doesn’t suddenly compel people to revert to 19th century ways!

  15. I understand the argument but I don’t get the ‘fight’ to be honest. Isn’t a CP just a second hand “here, have this instead” alternative to marriage? Whilst in an ideal world nobody would be prevented access to anything I cannot see heterosexual couples fight for CPs on par with the campaign for gay marriage and I actually think it muddies the water unhelpfully too. If gay people didn’t have CPs then I’d doubt there’d be much of a movement to allow heterosexual couples to have this as well as an alternative to marriage.

    As I say, I get the argument and cannot disagree with it, but I don’t understand the reason to fight for it. It’s not as if prior to CPs there were straight couples feeling aggrieved that their only option of union was marriage. I find it a bit irksome that the two ’causes’ have been somehow linked to be honest.

  16. Peter Tatchell 26 Jan 2013, 5:41pm

    The principle is equality. The law should be equal for all.

    If we demand an end to our exclusion from marriage then logically and morally we should also oppose the exclusion of opposite-sex couples from civil partnerships.

    Many straight people support out fight for marriage equality. We should reciprocate by supporting civil partnership equality. No?

    1. Technically, yes, of course, but there are more issues than logic here, I think, and more emotions. Maybe it’d have been easier if equal marriage had replaced CPs and CPs disappeared as a choice so that every person had the same options? That’s the other option for true equality.

    2. I agree. Not sure we’d have got this far without the help of the four straight couples who wanted civil partnerships. We owe them a duty to keep up the campaign for THEIR rights.

      1. Spanner1960 27 Jan 2013, 12:06am

        There wouldn’t even be the option for Civil Partnerships had the government done their job right in the first place.

        It’s like being given the vegetarian option in a restaurant, and then all the meat eaters suddenly deciding they want that instead.

    3. Peter

      I am sure those heterosexual people who for reasons best known to themselves would rather enter into a civil partnership than a marriage, will be grateful for your concern. As for me, I see civil partnerships as a phenomenon in LGBT history that symbolises our designation to second-class citizens: a compromise “marriage lite” for outsiders.

      Theoretically, heterosexual people should have been allowed access to CPs if they were going to continue.

      But the question is, do the benefits of your proclaiming that the bill gives LGBTs more rights than heteros, to the extent that you are now quoted by right-wing religionists opposing SSM, outweigh the benefits of campaigning to get the bill enacted now, and campaigning for hetero CPs later?

      Would you like MPs to vote against the bill in its current form? If not, what are you trying to achieve *now*?

      It’s like a child refusing to eat his dinner because he has two more chips than his sister, and his parents refuse to transfer one.

    4. Peter

      I as a bisexual do support your fight for equality for all and I fully agree with you on this issue completely.

      It`s a shame there does seem to be a lot of ignorance coming from the gay community especially on here it would seem.

      As you rightly point out this is a matter of equality for all relationships regardless of their sexuality or gender and nobody should be more equal than others in the eyes of the law.

      We cannot support one more than the other, we cannot say we support LGBT equality but not straight equality too, we cannot just simply pick and choose and ignore the other that would be hipocrisy.

      Personally I think there are quite few other flaws with the governments equal marriage bill that I hope will be addressed during its passage through parliament.

      1. Ciaran

        No-one here is challenging the claim that either CPs should be abolished with SSM, or else that people in heterosexual unions should have access to CPs.

        What is being challenged is the timing. I am sorry that you regard that as “ignorance from the gay community.”

        At the moment, there is still a great deal of opposition to equal marriage, and the Government, as well as LGBT activists, have worked very hard to reach a position where the bill has a good chance of becoming law.

        It is nine years since civil partnerships were legalised, yet only now, at this crucial point in the SSM legislation, is the campaign for heterosexual civil partnerships being launched. I didn’t hear a peep about it before.

        When Peter – the UK’s most famous LGBT activist – proclaims that the bill will give heteros more rights than straights, his words are being used to by religionist homophobes to oppose SSM and to depict LGBT people as a vocal selfish overprivileged minority. Totally unhelpful.

        1. Apologies: final paragraph sd read:

          “When Peter – the UK’s most famous LGBT activist – proclaims that the bill will give LGBT people more rights than heterosexuals, his words are being used to by religionist homophobes to oppose SSM and to depict LGBT people as a vocal selfish overprivileged minority. Totally unhelpful.”

          If the comments and “thumbs up”/ “thumbs down” here from PN readers are any indication of the views of the LGBT community on this issue, it’s clear that Peter’s strategy of championing the right of heterosexual people to CPs at this point in time – nine years after CPs were legalised and while this contentious legislation is about to go through Parliament – is opposed by most of the UK LGBT community..

          If the bill is good enough as it is, then the focus should be on getting it passed, without providing aid to its opponents. If Peter feels the bill is good enough, even without CPs for heterosexuals, he should save his hetero CP campaign until later.

          1. Well said, Gazza. I agree.

            And a good leader will take good note of such feedback as has been provided in this thread.

    5. Spanner1960 26 Jan 2013, 8:42pm

      Once same sex marriage is established we WILL have equality for all.
      Then we can ditch the half-baked concept that was thrown to us in order to appease the religious right.

      SCRAP CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS!

    6. @Peter Tatchell: “Many straight people support out fight for marriage equality. We should reciprocate by supporting civil partnership equality.”

      You indicate reciprocity, but reciprocity doesn’t actually exist in this instance. If it did, that is if three million or so heterosexual people had campaigned, or were campaigning, to be allowed to take out CPs, then, indeed, there would be sense in your assertion that we should support their claim. But that just is not the case.

      Furthermore, I don’t think we should consider that the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act” is “in the bag” !

      Right now the homophobes of every tier, in parliament, in the religions, in the streets and in the suburbs, are sharpening their knives and gearing up for the final onslaught, to derail this legislation when it goes to the Commons, and then possibly the Lords.

      So, be pragmatic, Peter. One step at a time. Baby-step after baby-step. Should there be sufficient demand, we can support the CPs later.

  17. Julian Morrison 26 Jan 2013, 8:11pm

    I think they are trying to wind civil partnerships down, so they can just obsolete them out of the law a few years down the line. That’s probably the plan.

    1. Spanner1960 28 Jan 2013, 12:26am

      Why not just knock them on the head and be done with it?
      It should be a switchover, no faffing about.

  18. Spanner1960 26 Jan 2013, 8:36pm

    Tatchell is such a prat.

    Civil Partnerships were always a poor, ill-thought out substitute for the real McCoy. As soon as marriages are equalised, by definition there is no reason to keep Civil Partnerships and they should go the way of Section 28, and everybody in CP’s should automatically be upgraded to full marriage status free of charge, as it was the government that cocked this thing up in the first place.

    1. I am happy in a Civil Partnership and wouldn’t want to have a marriage and would not consider it an upgrade; more turning right rather than left on an aircraft ;)
      However I do not understand why same sex couples can not be married and mixed sex couples couples can not have a Civil Partnership.
      Equality is the end game.

      1. Spanner1960 27 Jan 2013, 12:01am

        Well can you please explain to me what the hell the difference is?
        We want equality, and marriage was here first, so then we all get married.
        You don’t come up with an almost identical, but still inferior alternative with a different name and then allow everybody that as well. There is absolutely no point.

        Either get married like everybody else, or don’t.
        THAT is equality.

  19. If straight people want some alternative to marriage which doesn’t have the patriachial associations but is also distinct from marriage in other ways (ie similar to a French PACS) then that type of partnerships needs to be considered and should be open to all (gays and straights).

    Technically there is an inequality in not giving CPs to straight but the logic and reason that CPs were introduced were to mirror marriages in all but name so effectively straight would be tied in the same way as if they were married.

    PT should be campainging for a proper alternative partnership scheme for all and not CPs (something that really is likely to die a death anyway) for straights. As PT points out gays in Holland are getting married not CPed.

    1. Spanner1960 26 Jan 2013, 8:47pm

      What is the point of a two-tier system?
      Marriage has worked for straight people for hundreds of years, so why bother with this bureaucratic crap?

      All it will do is increase costs, paperwork and administration and serve no purpose whatsoever. A civil marriage is merely a social and legally recognised contract to demonstrate a partnership between two people.
      If others want a religious one, then all well and good, but that is an entirely different matter.

      PT needs to get off his high horse and recognise we will achieve something good after this long, drawn-out battle instead of constantly nitpicking about minutiae in order to keep his name in the papers.

  20. It’ll be vey interestig to see how Peter gets on with his Human Rights case at the ECHR.
    I suspect they will decide that, while there is a technical difference, straights are not effectively deprived of any significant rights and that it is up to each nation to decide how it deals with marriages/cps.

  21. Neon Genesis 26 Jan 2013, 10:29pm

    If marriage is inherently patriarchal, then civil unions are inherently homophobic. Why would you want to be bound by a legally inferior system of government recognition? The whole concept of civil unions was nothing more than a legalized excuse to marginalize and discriminate against gays.

  22. I have very great admiration for Peter Tatchell and all that he has done for us (often at great personal risk and cost), but sadly I think this ‘Straight CPs’ intervention is very unhelpful right now.

    Firstly, although absolutely pure equality theory would support ‘Straight CPs’, for practical purposes it’s really just not a burning issue in the real world: there aren’t hundreds of thousands of straight people whose lives are disadvantaged because they can’t become second class citizens.

    Unlike governments with umpteen Ministers and Departments that can multi-task, there’s only a finite amount of campaign rallies, column inches and Question Time minutes available to us, so we must choose which battle is the critical one worth fighting, and that can ONLY be Equal Marriage.

    1. Secondly, even if ‘Straight CPs’ were worth campaigning for, now is the worst possible time to do so ! With the crucial vote just days away on 5 February, we should all be giving the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 110% support to get it safely through the House of Commons with a large majority. Highlighting the (non) issue of Straight CPs as a supposed shortcoming is just rocking the boat; the religiots and the Mail and Telegraph have already started to gloat over these needless divisions.

      Only when we have Equal Marriage on the Statute Book should we indulge in the luxury of considering the unequal nature of CPs, assuming that they haven’t fallen into disuse by then. Until then, absolutely NOTHING should distract us from the task at hand.

  23. de Villiers 26 Jan 2013, 11:45pm

    In France, you can have a marriage or a PACS. Both are wholly civil. There is no reason why this should no be available in England.

    It is also no reason to oppose the present law proposed by the Coalition. Not everything need be achieved at the same time.

    1. Spanner1960 27 Jan 2013, 12:03am

      There is a very good reason: It is pointless, serves no purpose whatsoever having a two-tier system running in parallel, it creates confusion, cost, time-wasting and totally unnecessary bureaucracy.

      Keep it simple, stupid.

      1. de Villiers 27 Jan 2013, 9:58am

        Nonsense. The fact that some French couples choose to have a PACS and some choose to have a marriage shows that couples can cope with a choice of two options.

        1. Spanner1960 30 Jan 2013, 11:28pm

          The only reason for this is because France has a unique and somewhat bizarre marriage system.
          Churches are only allowed to bless a marriage, but they have no legal powers at all, so EVERYBODY must be married in a registry office. This is actually causing more problems than it solves, and now the French people are seriously kicking off about it.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21200685

  24. I’m interested in why any couple would choose a civil partnership over a civil marriage.

    To those seemingly possessing an obstinately narrow focus on the principle of equality to the detriment of current efforts, I pose this question: if equal marriage were the norm and civil partnerships did not exist, would anyone be campaigning and lobbying for a secondary form of legal recognition just because they personally didn’t agree with the supposed ‘patriarchal traditions’ of marriage?

    Should SSM be legalised, then yes, technically, for the first time in history, gay couples would be ‘priveleged’ to additional rights. The solution? Eliminate civil partnerships; they’re simply not needed.

    1. de Villiers 27 Jan 2013, 9:59am

      Both are popular in France. A PACS has none of the baggage and history of a marriage. It is seen as more of an equal and modern partnership.

      1. But that’s how the majority of people see civil marriage – free from the baggage of traditional religious marriage. Civil marriage is seen as the modern version of marriage. What suits France may not necessarily suit the UK.

        I think the idea of ‘baggage’ relating to the word marriage will die out anyway. It’s an old-fashioned idea in my opinion and simply not true nowadays. Everyone I know who’s married has a modern and equal relationship. Moreover, having something that’s like marriage but not called marriage will STILL carry the baggage of marriage if you believe that that exists. Changing the word doesn’t change the idea.

        1. de Villiers 28 Jan 2013, 8:25am

          English people are really hypocritical, wanting “choice” but only on their terms. Just like in Europe. People have attacked heterosexuals for wanting to keep marriage as being closed minded; and then then criticise the choice of people to have a pacte civil de solidarité PACS.

          Just look over the border to Europe and see that people can have either a marriage or a PACS. It is not true that the baggage of marriage will die-out. It has not been true in France for twenty years. People still choose a PACS. It is just wrong to say that having something that is like marriage but not called marriage will STILL carry its baggage. I know that this is not true – as do the 190,000 straight couples who had one in 2010 – 90% of PACS are for straight couples.

          To say what suits France does not suit the UK is xenophobic. It would be your view that same-sex marriage would suit all countries but not the PACS? Because you can only imagine your own views. It bends reality to fit with your opinions.

      2. Had equal marriage already been in place, PACS and civil partnerships would not have been introduced. In Denmark and Iceland, for example, registered partnerships were repealed and replaced once same-sex marriage became legal. I personally believe the UK should follow suit.

        From what I’ve managed to garner, a PACS confers fewer rights compared to marriage, and is implied to reflect a different degree of commitment. Its status in legislation has developed beyond its originally intended purpose; an emergent social construct resulting from the outgrowth of efforts to address inequality. Whether this changes should SSM become legalised is another matter.

        1. de Villiers 28 Jan 2013, 8:27am

          It does confer fewer rights – but that is a choice of individuals to have a less traditional relationship. It reflects no lower commitment – just a more modern commitment of equals. Over 90% of PACS are for straight couples.

  25. I agree that Civil Partnerships should be made available for straight people. However, it was the government how decided not to do this, not the people who campaigned for equal marriage. While I’d be happy to support a campaign for straight Civil Partnerships, it seems to me as if the LGBT community is expected to do all the campaigning for it, which seems a bit much!

  26. Helge Vladimir Tiller 27 Jan 2013, 10:27am

    In this context Scandinavia ( Denmark, Sweden and Norway ) is way ahead of UK. Hurry up-you lovely people !

    1. Christopher 27 Jan 2013, 11:55am

      Iceland to!

  27. auntie babs 27 Jan 2013, 12:02pm

    I think we need to get the law in place before we start nit-picking the bad things about it.

    1. Stephen Glasgow 27 Jan 2013, 3:32pm

      Actually I think that could be dangerous. Better to get it right first time than have a bad law that has unintended consequences because it’s poorly thought out, and then have to find even more parliamentary time (already difficult to secure) fixing the mess it leaves behind.

  28. I do partially agree with David’s argument that we shouldn’t just do away with promoting heterosexual civil partnerships. It’s very easy to say let the heteros handle it, but a great number of our supporters have been heterosexual who when it came to equal marriage didn’t say “oh, let the gays handle it, it doesn’t concern us”. Support has to be a two way thing, sure opposite sex civil partnerships don’t concern us, but why should our marriages concern 90% of the population, why should we be prioritising something like that?
    Inequality is still inequality. If we introduce a measure that even creates a slight degree of inequality can we truly stand for it? For years people who’ve had it all have said ‘gays don’t matter, same-sex marriage isn’t important’. However, others have said ‘ you know what, gays might be a minority in our population, but their equality is still important”. Similarly, now that some heterosexuals will now be in the minority means we have a duty to support them.

    1. No, it’s not just “let the heteros handle it”. I’m sure amongst the small number of people who have an issue with marriage there will be both straight, gay and bi people. So all those people can campaign if they choose to. CPs aren’t the non-marriage option – they are a separate but not equal form of what’s commonly understood to be marriage but we’re not permitted to have them known as that simply because we’re LGBT.

      CPs weren’t introduced to be a ‘civil union that’s not called marriage’. That wasn’t their raison d’etre. They were introduced and called such as a sop to (mainly) religious opponents.

      Having achieved marriage equality, if some people then think a special new kind of union should be created, then the form and name of that is something that they’ll have to consider and campaign for if they choose to. I doubt they’ll get that much support. NOT because people don’t believe in equality, but because we already have a non-baggage type marriage in the form of civil marriage.

    2. Some of my straight friends have chosen not to marry but none of those would have a CP either. It’s the principle they object to not the name.

      You can see ‘baggage’ in anything if you choose to, but a simple civil marriage, which has no religious or traditional elements and can be over in less than five minutes if you don’t want anything extra other than the necessary legal stuff, is the baggage-free option for most people.

      If you’re talking about the mere joining of two individuals as being wrong or inadvisable then calling it a different name is going to make no difference at all.

  29. I don’t see there’s any campaign for opposite-sex couples to handle. They’re being denied the opportunity to have what same-sex couples have because they were denied what same-sex couples have. I genuinely don’t see the injustice.

    1. Denied what opposite-sex couples have…I mean. D’oh!

  30. Robert in S. Kensington 27 Jan 2013, 3:03pm

    I think the ECHR will be the way to get CPs for straights since there isn’t much mention or support for it by the three parties, similar to the way CPs were introduced, although the anti equal marriage haters would skew anything the ECHR rules on and try to resurrect the issue of churches being forced or sued and of course, blaming equal marriage for the ‘divisiveness’ they seem to think it creates as well as allowing straights access to a CP.

    Either way, I support CPs for straights if they wnat them and we should all support it after equal marriage is introduced. Get that done first.

  31. Stephen Glasgow 27 Jan 2013, 3:28pm

    I’m not sure I actually understand the difference between a straight “Civil Partnership” and a straight “Civil Marriage”. Apart from the fact they have a different name, aren’t they identical in law? If I’ve got that wrong, could someone please explain the difference. If I’ve got that right, shouldn’t the marriage bill just abolish Civil Partnerships altogether and have everything fall under the term Civil Marriage? Also, does this bill only apply to England and Wales? I know Scotland is introducing its own legislation to tie in with this bill so that anomalies in the UK-wide Human Rights act are addressed at the same time, but what’s happening in Northern Ireland?

  32. This site is becoming more and more like the messages boards on the Daily mail.

    It seems nobody is allowed to have a different opinion.

    1. Now I’m wondering what your opinion is, Ciaran :D (can’t see any posts from you above – forgive me if you’ve already posted and I’ve missed it). Write what you feel. You have just as much right as anyone else and if you have good points to make then that makes interesting reading and discussion. We don’t all have to agree (and we often don’t!). As long as we can have courteous discussions, all’s good in my opinion.

    2. Spanner1960 28 Jan 2013, 12:22am

      Who said you are not allowed a different opinion?
      People can think and say what they like – others may disagree though.
      That is what debate is all about.

    3. Neon Genesis 28 Jan 2013, 7:20am

      Wouldn’t this be like if white people complained about how they were being treated more unequally than blacks because now white people can’t choose to drink from an inferior drinking fountain anymore now that the drinking fountains are equal?

  33. Neon Genesis 28 Jan 2013, 7:22am

    Isn’t this like white people complaining about how unfair they’re being treated now that they can’t choose to drink from an inferior drinking fountain anymore if all the drinking fountains are equal?

  34. burningworm 31 Jan 2013, 2:23pm

    We all know that this legislation will be passed. Marriage has always been a conservative affair.

    Instead why don’t we privilige difference?

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