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Peter Tatchell: ‘I am hugely disappointed that Culture Secretary Maria Miller has ruled out straight civil partnerships’

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  1. That There Other David 15 May 2013, 12:58pm

    He’s right of course. If CPs exist at all following the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill then they need to be open to everyone. We don’t want special treatment or access to anything denied to others.

    Personally I hope they announce that CPs will be phased out entirely once the Republic of Ireland has equal marriage. We currently recognise their CPs in our law, so that’s the only reason I can think of for maintaining the separate legal distinction. Otherwise they become completely surplus to requirements.

    1. My understanding is that we currently recognise both same-sex marriages from other countries, and a variety of civil-partnership-like arrangements, as civil partnerships. If we introduce same-sex marriage and phase out civil partnership, we could simply recognise foreign civil partnerships and the like as marriages, couldn’t we?

  2. Christopher Kay 15 May 2013, 12:59pm

    I’m sure that if enough straight couples get together and lobby the government, they’d be able to get civil unions.

    I’ve not seen anyone rallying on the streets for it though…

  3. I wish Peter Tatchell would stop prefixing marriage and civil partnerships with ‘straight’, ‘gay’, ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’. It’s far more than that.

    I do agree with him on legalising mixed-gender civil partnerships but is it really worth delaying the bill over? It’s not as if mixed-gender couples are oppressed in the same way and to the same degree as same-sex couples because of their exclusion to it, and nitpicking like this really isn’t helping us.

  4. I’m glad Mrs Miller has made this statement as it may indicate that the government has a longer-term objective of ditching the ghastly Civil Partnership Act altogether. It would be wise to do so. With equal marriage it is wholly unnecessary and will only ever offer a second-rate alternative to whoever it applies to. RIP CPs!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 May 2013, 1:49pm

      Although I don’t care for CPs and refused to have one because of the inequality they impose, I don’t think those who prefer them should have them discarded against their will. For some they are enough. That’s their right to live as a second class citiziens.

      Chris Bryant should know better. CPs are and never will be universally recognised and will NEVER be the gold standard. He’ll be among the first to convert his CP to a marriage, I guarantee it

      1. Should and equal society allow people to live as second class citizens?

        Those who are happy with CP’s will more than likely not get anything different from marriage other than a new piece of paper so it will not effect them at all. I for one would like to see the CP vanish from existence, I have one and have had enough of being forcibly divorced every time I leave the UK.

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 15 May 2013, 1:45pm

    Interesting that she says that there is no deficit of rights in marriage for straights which implies there are in CPs. That to me is an admission that CPs have finally been debunked by the government as not being equal to marriage. It’s opened up a can of worms for the majority of opposing backbenchers in a very uncomfortable position. Even if an amendment to allow straights to have access to them were tabled, you can bet those backbenchers in opposition would oppose it which would also expose their own bigotry. Burrowes and Loughton have always maintained they are equal to marriage to justify a ban on our right to marry, but they’d be the first to vote it down.

  6. Ditch CP’s and make marriage the standard that we all have.

    1. Agreed. Allow those who already have CPs to choose whether to convert them to civil marriages, but get rid of the option of a CP as soon as we have EM. They were only introduced as a sop to the religious people who didn’t want the word “marriage” suposedly ‘tainted’ by its association with gay people. They’re unnecessary. There should be one civil option for all – civil marriage.

  7. Jock S. Trap 15 May 2013, 2:14pm

    Me too Peter but just now I want to see this bill through and up and running. We can start the nitty, gritty afterwards.

  8. I am hugely disappointed that the UK government has not also moved to repeal the registered partnership law and convert these to marriages in the proposed legislation. RP’s undermine marriage as the gold standard for relationships (see Jonathan Rauch’s book). Now that society is ready for true equality, we should eliminate the second class RPs and tell all couples: “You want the benefits of marriage? Then get married.”

    1. I mean Civil Partnership, not registered partnership. This confusion, from country to country, or state to state (the USA has at least 3 different names for the same second-class status for same-gender couple relationship) is exactly why we need to repeal all these faux relationships, and go for only marriage in all jurisdictions.

  9. Civil Partnerships will forever be a symbol of “less than equal”.

    Let’s confine them to the history books.

  10. Oh F*ck off, Tatchell. There’s a fine line between being an activist and being a media whore, and he’s well past it in more ways than one.

  11. From a purely academic, theoretical perspective Peter is correct, but I really can’t see why this issue is worth pursuing in practice. It’s just muddying the waters.

    The simplest way to deal with Peter’s concerns will be to stop issuing new CPs as soon as Equal Marriage is available.

    In the unlikely event that any straights really do want to enter into a Civil Partnership, then they can campaign for it themselves while we busy ourselves with more worthy issues such as gay rights in Africa and Russia, homophobic bullying in schools, etc.

  12. Don Harrison 20 May 2013, 4:09pm

    Peter, one step at a time.

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