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Peter Tatchell: ‘Civil partnership review unnecessary’

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  1. Tim Roll-Pickering 17 May 2013, 4:04pm

    Outside of small circles the whole question of heteosexual civil partnerships has received very little attention and debate beyond knee-jerk head nodding to the general concept of equality. So naturally consultations focused on equal marriage so far have repeated this pattern but this hasn’t really drilled into the specifics of the matter.

    If people have a problem with the institution of marriage then they have two solutions – 1). Reclaim the word or 2). Don’t get married.

    If civil partnerships did not exist today there would be no need to create them – pandering to a handful who object to the supposed sexist origins of marriage but have no problem with the homophobic origin of civil partnerships is not a good enough reason.

    1. I beg to differ. There are quite sizeable proportions of straight people who might opt for a civil partnership would there be the opportunity. Look at how popular things like pacs are for straight people. It is unfortunate that many people who are together for life currently have to enter into labyrnthine and complicated legal processes in order to guarantee what would be available to them otherwise by getting married. As far as I am concerned the gay rights movement has often been strong and powerful in its advocacy of relationships that are non-marital but significant and worthy in their own right. Allowing civil partnerships for all is fully consonant and indeed an amplification of the wonderful work the gay rights movement has done to cause society to think about the significance of non-marital relationships, and the rights attendant to them.

      1. Apologies: replace gay rights movement with LGBT movement.

      2. Spanner1960 17 May 2013, 10:52pm

        Please explain the difference between a ‘non-marital but significant and worthy’ relationship’ and a marriage?
        That’s like having a piece of paper that says you can drive a car, but isn’t a driving licence.
        Straight people have been doing it for years. It’s called “living in sin’
        Either you are married or you are not; If you want social and legal recognition, then you tie the knot, That is the whole point of a marital commitment, it’s all or nothing.
        If you cannot commit to saying “I want to marry someone I love and wish to spend the rest of my life with.” then you shouldn’t be asking for any legal recognition in the first place.

        1. There is often no difference. What makes the difference is largely the (unfortunate) connotations attached to the term marriage; the history of the institution as a site of oppression and subjugation, etc. A non-marital but significant relationship would be, for example, like that of my uncle, who has been with his partner for 30 years. They do not like the institution of marriage and so have not married. However they encounter problems of a legal kind quite easily circumvented in the case of married couples. I don’t see why they should get married. There are many people like them.
          Many people would say one of the problems of a marital commitment is its connotation that it is all or nothing. They like civil partnerships because of the lack of a connotation that it is a ‘death until we part’ relationship.

          1. Spanner1960 18 May 2013, 9:57pm

            Precisely it IS all or nothing. If you want the benefits, then you have to demonstrate the commitment.
            If you don’t like marriage, fair enough, don’t marry; nobody is forcing anyone.
            If you can’t cope with “till death us do part”, then you obviously aren’t up to the grade and should go your separate ways now.
            Sorry but we don’t need sit-on-the-fence, half-arsed middle of the road wimps.
            It’s like asking to do half a parachute jump, either you are in it or you are not.

  2. Based on the comments and thumbs up/down on PinkNews, it would seem that there are considerable differences among people, and LGBT folk in particular, about what to do with civil parnerships after equal marriage. Many, probably most want to see the back of these second class marriages, whilst a few, like Thatchell want to make them available to all on the grounds.

    In view of this, it seems to me that Maria Millar’s proposal to let the dust settle first to be highly sensible – let’s see what people actually want – and Peter Thatchell’s position to be the height of arrogance.

    1. ….missed a bit – on the grounds of marriage representing some sort of patriarchally oppressive instrument.

  3. I can’t see thy we need civil partnerships at all. Civil marriage should be open to both straight and gay couples, and the state as such should cease to recognize religious marriages.

    1. Spanner1960 17 May 2013, 10:59pm

      I don’t see any reason why religious establishments cannot be allowed to perform ceremonies if they so wish to do so, but it is important to define that they operate within a civil framework, not that secular ceremonies operate within a religious one. Marriage must be defined as a legal definition first and foremost – anything else is just icing on the (wedding) cake. Civil Partnerships should be dumped, and all CP’s automatically upgraded to marriage free of charge, as it was the government that introduced this fudge designed to appease the religious right, so it is they who should foot the bill to rectify the situation and allow equality for all.

      1. How about the following. Dump the civil partnerships and then redesign the marriage law so that people of whatever sexual orientation can choose either to have a marriage or a civil partnership, the rights attendant on both being the same? That would solve the problem. It would also represent a true advancement in this country.

        1. Spanner1960 18 May 2013, 9:49pm

          What is the point of having two virtually identical parallel systems? Just more work, more cost, more hassle, more confusion.
          Married is married is married. It’s the way its been done since the year dot. Everybody knows what it is and what it means.
          Everybody should be given two choices: Get married, or don’t.

  4. Spanner1960 17 May 2013, 10:45pm

    For once I agree with Tachell.

    Civil Partnerships are not fit for purpose and should be canned for the lily-livered compromising fudge they are.

  5. Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 18 May 2013, 12:14pm

    I did previously support keeping the civil partnership law and then add “opposite sex couples” to the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

    Then Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island (eff. August 1, 2013) and Delaware (eff. July 1, 2013) – all have “converted” all civil unions into full civil marriages and the laws worked!

    Here is an idea for the UK. Once the same-sex marriage law becomes effective from 5th February 2014, then all current civil partnerships should automatically be converted into civil marriages – all 79,000 of them since 5th December 2005 (when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 commenced).

    1. David and Paddy 18 May 2013, 7:47pm

      Interesting how the opponents of equality try to claim there is no demand for marriage among gay couples. Nearly 160,000 of us thought it worth the bother even for the second class institution of Civil Partnership. I would think the figure would have been significantly higher if we could have married. Though my partner and I have always referred to our relationship as a marriage.

    2. Spanner1960 18 May 2013, 9:52pm

      Agreed, but they shouldn’t turn this into another revenue-grabbing scheme.
      It was the government that cocked this all up originally, so it is they who should foot the bill for the upgrade.
      Everyone with CP’s should just get a marriage certificate in the post saying congratulations, job done.

      1. err you do realise we all fund the Government.

        1. Spanner1960 20 May 2013, 5:27pm

          Yes, but they will do anything to gain money. Look at the cost of getting a passport these days.
          Incidentally, have you any idea what a CP or marriage costs? (and I’m not talking about wedding cakes – I mean the admin fees.)
          Go take a look and then tell me why those of us in CP’s should have to pay twice because the government can’t get it’s frigging act together first time round.

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