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UK: Cameron could veto straight civil partnerships over ‘sanctity of marriage’

  • Jones

    This ‘sanctity of marriage’ card means absolutely nothing and is just something that’s pulled out by the conservatives. The right to love belongs to us all and must be available to all.

  • Robert W. Pierce

    So what was the consultation all about then? Why have it if he might veto it? Makes no sense. Interestingly, during the equal marriage debate, rabidl anti equal marriage foe Tory MP Tim Loughton tabled an wrecking amendment in third reading to introduce CPs for straight couples but denied it was such. Let’s see if he comes to their defence.

    • Truth

      Good point. Someone needs to write to him and ask how he intends to vote.

      • Robert W. Pierce

        After a very heated email exchange during the equal marriage debate with Loughton, he ignored additional emails from me. I questioned him about his sudden support for straight CPs and why he hadn’t campaigned for them which led to my accusing him of introducing an wrecking amendment which he vehemently denied. That was the last time he responded. I would be very surprised if he attacked Cameron over this and suspect he will say and do nothing. Loughton is just another swivel-eyed, arrogant, opportunistic nasty Tory.

    • David H

      Not sure where Cameron even gets this idea of a right of veto from. If it goes before parliament, it will either go through or not. Obviously, he can stop it going before parliament but does he really want to risk peeing off the Lib Dems at this point in time?

      He may have introduced fixed term parliaments but the PM still has to have the confidence of the House otherwise an Election is called just as it always was. Whether they like it or not, the Tories still need the Lib Dems far more then they will ever admit.

  • Mumbo Jumbo

    As sanctity is a religious term surely marriages at a register office already “undermine the sanctity of marriage” and have been doing so for many decades.

    A sad attempt to appease right-wing religious voters.

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  • Dewey

    will then CPs be opened up to straight married couples so they can downgrade to CPs? and how long will the conversion process take? (sorry if everyone sees this comment several times – my internet is patchy and every time I have clicked post it has dropped out on me!)

  • Silly Old Bastard

    As a Conservative, I’m really annoyed the PM is having any truck with this
    revolutionary stuff.

  • J.

    Before the UK Government makes any decision to open CPs to all or to abolish them, it MUST rectify the Northern Ireland situation first, where there is no same-sex marriage despite being legal elsewhere in the UK and where married couples from GB will have their marriage annulled as soon as they set foot in NI. Equally, NI couples cannot marry elsewhere in the UK and have that marriage recognised.
    They CANNOT abolish CPs in the UK when that is all that is available for gay people in NI. It should have NEVER been a devolved matter. Human rights should always be applicable across the UK, not in one part but not in another – it’s a ridiculous and unacceptable state of affairs.
    Having LGBT rights devolved is already a huge slap on the face of NI LGBTs, but for the rest of the UK to then abolish CPs is a huge insult to those of us in NI who have no choice as marriage is not valid in this part of the UK.
    Westminster needs to rectify this injustice. It recently had the chance to have powers returned to central UK Government regarding gay blood transfusions but the Health Secretary, Hunt, said they didn’t want that power back.
    Either we’re UK citizens or we’re not. The UK Government needs to make it’s mind-up about that.
    (and yes…I’m bloody furious about it as anyone in the rest of the UK would be if in the same situation. Before anyone suggests, as has been done before, that we’ve only got ourselves to blame for having a minority DUP in a position of such power, remember that UKIP could possibly have the most votes in England at the forthcoming election and it would be wrong to suggest that England in its entirety, LGBTs included, are to blame for such a result!…just saying!)

    • J.

      For some reason my paragraph spaces are removed when I post a message.

    • That There Other David

      UKIP are a one time protest vote aimed at the Euro parliament. The DUP meanwhile keep getting voted in again and again. No comparison between the two situations. You do only have yourselves to blame, however much I agree that the UK parliament should impose marriage equality on NI.

      • J.

        Get a grip David – do you realise just how ignorant and insulting you are? How are NI LGBTs to blame? Please tell us.

        • That There Other David

          I’m not singling out NI LGBTs. Northern Ireland’s entire Unionist population are to blame.

          As for ignorant and insulting, don’t even go there. You have no idea what my connections to the Six Counties are, nor my history.

          • J.

            You did insinuate that NI LGBTs were to blame for the situation that they find themselves in.
            And if you are being VERY ignorant and insulting as you must definitely are, I am perfectly entitled to say so in my defence.
            I don’t know your history just as you don’t know mine. You refer to the Six Counties, the term used by Irish Republicans. I can only wonder how NI Unionists (I’m not a unionist by the way) have been responsible for your ignorance (and ignorant you are because you have obviously no rational view about Northern Ireland).

          • J.

            Most NI LGBTs do not associate with the politics of unionism vs. nationalism.
            By your logic, Russian LGBTs are to blame for the situation they find themselves in, as are LGBT Ugandans, Iranians, Saudis, etc. Your stance is completely illogical.

  • Truth

    It’s a bit scarey. The leader of our nation…… so self-delusional. I want my Prime Minister to believe in science and reality… not silly fairy stories about talking snakes and women made out of a man’s ribs. I mean, please! And this is a man with his finger on the nuclear trigger ….

    • Jones

      I want my Prime Minister to believe in science and reality

      I don’t think Cameron knows what reality is.

    • David H

      I’m the same. I get really uncomfortable when religion and politics mix. I don’t have an issue if he wants to be religious in the privacy of his own home – but the church and the state should have a very strong dividing line (including in the House of Lords, but that’s a seperate debate).

      That said, I do talk to my cats when I get home from work. But I think it’s only if they answer me back that I need to worry ;-)

  • CRW

    Good! He should scrap CPs for gay people as well, they are nonsense invented by the labour party with zero social capital. I am changing mine as soon as I can.

    • J.

      When CPs arrived it seemed like a great breakthrough at the time, so I can’t understand all the rubbishing of them now. When the Labour Government introduced the Civil Partnership Act it was a huge step forward than the treatment given to us by the previous Tory Government.
      It sounds like you took advantage of CPs being available. Surely you were delighted when you and your partner got your CP? I realise that it was all that was available (and still is the only option in part of the UK) but just because same-sex marriage is now available in GB doesn’t mean that Civil Partnerships are worthless. It is very insulting to those of us in Civil Partnerships.

      • CRW

        I wasn’t delighted no, I was pissed off that it wasn’t a marriage. But it was legally expedient.

        They served their purpose, but time to wipe them out of the statue book now. They were better than what came before, but unfortunate.

        • J.

          “Legally expedient” – how romantic! lol.
          For my partner and I it was the happiest day of our lives to date. I won’t be made to feel that it was a pointless exercise with no worth as nothing could be further from the truth.

          • Mihangel apYrs

            my partner and I had been together for 31 years when we “CPed”, so we were tying up legal loose ends.

            We had nothing to prove

        • David H

          I know what you mean. It seemed like being both a huge breakthrough and being short-changed at the same time. I must admit, I didn’t have a CP purely because it wasn’t marriage.

          In all honesty, I don’t think gay marriage would have been passed back then. Things have come on a lot in the last decade (if I’m honest, I think there’s been more headway in the last two or three years than in the last 50).

  • That There Other David

    This report if true can only mean one thing. CPs are going to be abolished and all UK couples currently in them will be automatically upgraded to being married. The two tier system for same-sex couples model isn’t going to be acceptable to anyone.

    • J.

      “all UK couples” in CPs will NOT have them automatically “upgraded”. Northern Ireland, whether you like it or not, is part of the UK and therefore only GB couples in CPs would have them “upgraded”. Considering your ignorant comment elsewhere on this page that NI LGBTs have only themselves to blame for the situation they are now in, then having only GB couples catered for should delight you!

      • David H

        I wonder what would actually happen if that were the case and all CPs were automatically upgraded. Would that force NI to recognise them, or would they get an exemption leaving CPs in place? It’s something that needs clarifying before they press on with anything.

        • J.

          It needs clarifying and rectifying. It’s a nonsense that LGBTs in most of the UK are deemed to be deserving of equality, yet LGBTs in another part of the UK are not and are consequently second-class LGBTs and second-class UK citizens. It is a travesty of justice.
          Cameron’s/Clegg’s argument about the future of CPs is only applicable to England and Wales due to LGBT rights legislation being devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Both Scotland and NI administrations will ultimately decide the fate of CPs in their jurisdictions.
          It will lead to a very confusing and unjust situation whereby CPs will exist in one or two parts of the UK but not the rest, which will have same-sex marriage only. It’s unjust not only for LGBTs in the part of the UK that only has CPs, but would also be for all UK LGBTs. If for any reason they are required to travel to the part of the UK with only CPs, their marriages will be automatically annulled in that jurisdiction and considered to be a CP! Can you imagine heterosexual marriages being treated in such a way?
          It’s really a sad state of affairs, particularly as unionist members of the Northern Ireland legislature have an automatic veto over anything they oppose. That was the system set up by the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ between the NI political parties and enacted by the UK and Irish Governments. Therefore, the UK Government has its share of responsibility in the setting-up of a political system that’s far from being democratic – a system that ultimately ensures that LGBT-rights legislation is forever vetoed by a minority leading party in the legislative Assembly.
          Unionist vetoes over same-sex marriage, gay blood transfusions and adoption rights for gay couples have been challenged in the courts. Judges have ruled that the NI minister responsible acted illegally, yet that minister has decided to just ignore those rulings and the situation remains unchanged as ministers appear to have ultimate authority whatever judges rule.
          However, as a result of these legal disputes, the minister (unable to change the law due to his religious convictions) attempted to return the authority to make a decision over gay blood transfusions back to the relevant UK minister (Jeremy Hunt). He refused to take that opportunity for the UK Government to rectify the situation. Therefore, the UK Government is complicit in perpetuating this injustice by basically declaring that NI politicians can do what they want with NI LGBTs.
          I fail to see how NI LGBTs have any blame in any of this, which is what ‘That There Other David’ has said in another post on this page.
          [sorry for the long response – it’s due to sheer frustration]

          • That There Other David

            As already stated above, I blame the Unionist population of Northern Ireland, not NI LGBTs. You want Poots and his ilk gone, vote them out. The power is in your hands.

          • J.

            Do you think NI LGBTs vote for Poots? I don’t think so!! So don’t tell NI LGBT commenters on this site to “vote them out” as the power is most definitely NOT in our hands.

          • That There Other David

            Once again, I refer to the Unionist population of Northern Ireland. Why do you keep assuming I’m only talking about LGBT people in NI?

          • J.

            Because your statements “you’ve only got yourselves to blame”, “vote them out” and “the power is in your hands” do not specify with them that they are directed only to the Unionist population. Your statements are posted in such a way that makes an NI LGBT observer think that you are directing the statements to them (i.e. the NI LGBT community).

      • That There Other David

        In this scenario the courts and Westminster would have to impose marriage equality on Stormont, which certainly would delight me.

    • The Scottish Govt have made clear that they have no intention of forcing people in CPs to change to marriage in Scotland, which they consider would breach the European Convention on Human Rights. In Scotland, the two options that will be considered are to close CPs to new entrants (while allowing those in existing CPs a free choice of whether to change to marriage), or to open up CPs to couples regardless of gender.
      The Equality Network and the wider equal marriage campaign in Scotland have always supported the second option – opening up CPs to all – so that all couples have maximum choice. It’s also the only option that continues to recognise new CPs registered in other countries (and as J has pointed out, in Northern Ireland).

      • That There Other David

        Obviously Cameron only has power over the policy in England and Wales. I trust Holyrood to do the right thing for the Scottish people, so even if the result is different from England and Wales it will be fair to all Scots or those living in Scotland.

        Shame I can’t say the same about Stormont, which is run by crazies. Crazies who keep getting voted in, I might add.

        • J.

          Stormont has a slim majority who are ‘crazies.’
          There are almost half of the politicians in Stormont who are pro-same sex marriage.
          NI LGBTs are NOT responsible or to share blame in the voting-in of the anti-gay politicians, those who make up a slim majority of Stormont. NI LGBTs tend not to engage in the politics of unionism vs. nationalism.
          So please engage your brain before posting a message.

          • That There Other David

            Only a slim majority are crazies eh?

            Well, that makes a bundle of difference doesn’t it….

          • J.

            And as I’ve repeatedly said … NI LGBTs are not to share in the blame for that situation! We do not vote for homophobic politicians like Edwin Poots. Telling NI LGBTs that we only have ourselves to blame because of how other people in NI vote is absurd.
            Even if non-homophobic MLAs were in the majority with the DUP no longer the party with the most seats in Stormont, the situation would not change because the DUP as the largest unionist party would still have a veto over any same-sex marriage proposal.
            Do you understand yet? As a gay person I hope you have the intelligence to realise that NI LGBTs are powerless to change how others vote in NI elections. Perhaps in future you could make a distinction between NI LGBTs and the Northern Ireland population in general. I’m not sure if you “could” make that distinction or deliberately “won’t”. If it’s the latter then you are terribly prejudiced, embarrassingly so for a gay man.

          • That There Other David

            What’s embarrassing is your attempts to continually twist the meaning of my posts to suit what you want them to read. The DUP only has the power of veto whilst it is the largest Unionist party. So to solve the problem and remove the religious crazies from being able to suppress change the Unionist population have to vote them out.

            But for some reason the Unionist population of Northern Ireland think reliving a 300 year old battle is more important, because they keep putting their X in the box next to the DUP candidates. Therefore the Unionist population of Northern Ireland as an electorate are to blame for the DUP crazies having the power they have.

            And that’s up to you to change, because I can’t do jack from London. So the power to change things is with you.

            Get it now? Or would you prefer to whine on an Internet site a bit longer rather than do something about the actual problem?

          • J.

            Oh, I do ‘get’ that you definitely don’t ‘get’ it.
            Posters here from NI are LGBT, not the Unionist population of NI. Therefore don’t keep saying “it’s up to YOU to change” and the “power to change things is with YOU”. If you read my posts you will see that the NI LGBT contributors on this site have absolutely no power as members of the NI LGBT community to influence the voting habits of the unionist population, but your insistence on saying “YOU” would suggest that you do think we have some magical power to change things. The facts as revealed on other articles here on NI demonstrate that we (the NI LGBT community) are very powerless despite lots of efforts and campaigning.

  • Jesus_Mohammed

    Personally I don’t see the point of continuing with the second-rate CPs that were invented specifically for we homosexual couples. I believe CPs should be abolished with a sort of shame, though they were indeed a great advance when they were introduced.

    All CPs should be automatically updated to marriages, so that we have a society of true equality, where everybody is either married or not married, committed to another person for life or not, there being no need for continuing a middle ground of CPs as marriages can be either entirely civil/secular (conducted by registrars) or religious (blessed, or performed with a large dollop of religious nonsense thrown in by a registrar, or somesuch workaround in the case of homosexual couples until such time as further progress is made in the churches).

    • Personally I don’t see civil partnerships as second rate.

      • allan

        Then you can have either a cp or get married as it stands at the minute. So no problem for you getting what you want

        • Big problem if the government wants to abolish civil partnership.

          • allan

            But they haven’t yet. I’m in a CP and have no choice even though a law was passed nearly a year ago to allow me to convert.
            Both my ‘partner’ and I want to be married.

          • The difference is that the conversion of CPs to marriages has already been agreed and made law, even though it’s not actually happening yet. Yes it’s frustrating, and I sympathise, but there is no doubt that it’s going to happen and we’re certainly not considering changing our minds and arbitrarily taking it away.

          • allan

            Not quite as sure as you about it happening as I’m concerned that the delay is deliberate. All the required changes we’re agree through secondary legislation to allow new marriage.
            Could be all sorts of outcomes to achieve the promised change and long delays seem to be part of the process.
            You’ll have a couple of years to find and CP your Mr Right if that’s what he wants as well.

  • Tayo

    should be all or nothing with civil unions. you can’t have some groups have more rights than others

  • Craig Young

    Okay, that’s weird. In New Zealand, civil unions included straight people to begin with. And I so agree with the comments about Northern Ireland.

  • David H

    So that explains the Britian is a Christian country rubbish last week.

    • J.

      If I remember correctly, Cameron said something along the lines of him not being religious when he entered Downing St. in 2010. Now, he appears to have been ‘born again’. In the sense that the Church of England is the officially established church in England but – as far as I’m aware – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have officially established state churches, then England but only England could be assumed to be a ‘Christian nation’. However, whatever the status of Christianity is in Britain, Cameron is obviously just attempting to restore Tory votes from a Christian right-wing that has shifted over to UKIP. It’s all electioneering. He doesn’t seriously believe in what he said but will pander as far as possible to the ‘Tory Taliban’ element, just to keep his hold on power.

  • Paula Thomas

    Dear Mr Cameron

    On Friday a friend told me she has months to live, she cancer. She is in a Civil Partnership. Your stupid behaviour over straight CPs may prevent her from confirming her marriage, because in all but law that is what her CP is. Please, please stop being so cruel to people like her.


  • allan

    So we have 128,000 + people already in CP s and no one seems willing to be honest about what is going on with the legal pledge to allow those who wanted to to convert to a marriage as stated in the law. Now we know how political work the whole CP thing has always been a cop out and we now know David Cameron had gone all holy- for whatever reason – is it any wonder no advance has been made. Sadly the LGBT community is used again as a step in the Tory campaign trail. DC doesn’t give a toss about CPs for all but is worried that a sudden rush to convert will look bad to his Tory voters. Bets that we are still discussing this a year from now. The Tories never wanted equal marriage and they sure as he’ll don’t want CPs for all or a rush of conversions to marriage to annoy them in the shires.
    Why no date because there was never going to be before the next election part of the pay back for us winning.

  • Gerry

    I think the ‘Equal CP’ issue is just a distraction. For a start, how many new CPs will take place now? We’ll have to wait and see but I’d bet there will few, if any.

    And how many straights would want a CP rather than marriage? Again, very few I suspect.

    In theory, if CPs continue then they should be open to straights. But I really think that it should be straights themselves that should make the case: gays shouldn’t have to be the world’s policeman. There are far more important battles to be fought such as gay rights in Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, Brunei etc, not to mention Equal Marriage in Northern Ireland. Dissipating our energy and resources on opposite sex CPs is simply a luxury we cannot afford.

    Let’s just hand the baton on to any straights who feel oppressed that they can’t have second-rate substitute for marriage !

    • In the Netherlands, which has had both marriage and CP (“registered partnership”) with effectively equal legal rights since 2001, the ratio of same-sex marriages to same-sex CPs is 3 to 1, and the ratio of mixed-sex marriages to mixed-sex CPs is 10 to 1. Those ratios, if repeated in Scotland, would equate to around 100 same-sex CPs and 2,500 mixed-sex CPs being registered in Scotland, per year.
      On whether mixed-sex CP should be a campaign for us, a lot of bi and trans people want the option of a mixed-sex CP (the Equality Network is an LGBT equality organisation, not a lesbian & gay one!). Secondly, the “straights” who are calling for it are among the many people and groups who supported same-sex marriage. Without the support of non-LGBT people for same-sex marriage, we wouldn’t have got it!

      • john

        NZ and the Netherlands have always had straight civil unions. They were brought in at the same time as gay ones. CPs in the UK were just a stop gay because gays could have the word marriage, there was no other purpose behind them. The NZ civil union which is open to straights as well was never meant to be like a marriage. I don`t know about the Dutch one. It is silly to compare the NZ situtation to the British one and I suspect similiarly we need to look at why the Dutch opened it up to straights in the first place;

        • Luís Guilherme

          Let’s not forget Brazil (my native country’s união estável pl. uniões estáveis has existed intended for straight people for 10 years, when after several court cases allowing it to same-sex couples our Supreme Court decided to recognize same-sex couples as family entities in May 2011; almost exactly two years and two weeks after this decision meant that same-sex marriage is also a legal right), Uruguay, Ecuador, France (where they’re known as PACS), Colorado, Hawaii and Illinois.

        • You’re right about the history of the Dutch and NZ CP-equivalent – they were open to mixed-sex couples from the start. However, regardless of the history of their introduction, it is the case that they were and are both “like marriage” legally (unlike the ones in France and Belgium for example). The Dutch registered partnership is virtually identical in legal effect to marriage, like the UK’s civil partnership is. You personally may believe that UK civil partnership has no purpose but to be a stop gap for marriage, but not everyone agrees with you. Despite being legally almost identical to marriage, Dutch registered partnership is popular with a significant minority of mixed-sex and same-sex couples there, and the survey work we have done in Scotland suggests that the same will be true here. We believe that the same choices should be available here in Scotland. It takes nothing away from those who don’t want a CP themselves (who, for example, would choose marriage or no registration at all) to have CPs available for those who do want them.

    • Evidence from Scotland is that around a quarter of same-sex couples would prefer a civil partnership, and in countries which run both systems around 10-15% of mixed sex couples do too. There’s certainly still a demand.

      • Luís Guilherme

        Yes. In Brazil uniões estáveis – available to all mixed-sex couples since 2001 and all same-sex ones since 2011 – were originally intended for them. They are issued automatically when two people live together for a considerable amount of time (I guess 2 years) or have a child and declare to be a family.

        It’s widely popular, and it only gets negative difference in law with our inheritance system (legally married people have not to opt-in to get a part of their spouse’s property when they die, while an união estável doesn’t legally marry a person; people in an união estável can opt-in their partners for property through testaments, obviously, though), other systems that discriminate single/married legal status (can’t think of another government-mandated one), and its recognition in other countries. :)

        The positive difference is that bigamy law doesn’t apply. Unlike in marriage, you might legally share a household with a single person you have sex with, without fearing legal consequences (though there are no reports of people being arrested for it given both spouses’ consent in modern times).

        There is at least one reported case of a triple civil union, actually, where one man and two women were all legally tied to each other.

  • Everybody is so busy thinking about the couples that want to convert their CPs to marriages and can’t (yet), that they don’t consider those who don’t want to but may ultimately be forced to.

    Once again any serious arguments either on principle or from practical concerns are being swept aside in favour of Tory party internal politics.

  • CHBrighton

    So, instead of considering the issue with regards to whether it has inherent merits or not, the Prime Minister decides an important issue on the basis of whether it will win an election or not for his party. This is not a government of the whole country.

    • He’s not even doing it to win an election, just to stop his party backstabbing each other so much.

  • Nick

    Fine, but we need equality here so if they are not to be extended to straight couples, civil partnerships need to be discontinued for new formation by gay couples. Then, existing civil partnerships either need to be automatically converted over to marriage or left alone in a grandfathered way. Somebody will always get upset no matter what is decided…

    • I agree that it’s an anomaly that needs to be dealt with, equality and fairness are not principles that we should ignore when we have nothing to gain, but part of me is really enjoying the fact that I have the right to do something straight people can’t.

  • Stephen

    Cameron is an utter moron.
    Who does he think he is to decide on the sanctity of marriage.
    He needs to concern himself with his own marriage and to stop sniffing other people’s bedsheets like the Tory bigot that he is resembling.

  • Bish Chan

    Issue no more CPs for anyone gay or straight. Have only marriage. Let the current CPs remain. The benefits to society from marriage are not replicated by any other type of union.

    • Zoe Doidge

      Agreed. There’s just no need for CPs when we already have the right to marry and it’d be just as fair from an equality point of view to get shot of them. You’d end up with a few holdouts in CPs but eventually they’ll convert them or die off and the problem will resolve itself.

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