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Exclusive: Government to announce December date for civil partnership conversion

  • David Greensmith

    About time. Pity the government didn’t see fit to offer full equality to heterosexual couples, though.

    • david

      not sure what the diference is, or why CP’s which were a political construct devised as a compromise are needed now – everyone could chose between a secular or a religeousmarriage. Extending Cps to heterosexual couples seems otiose. Am prepared to be told I am missing something but it isnt apparent to me

      • David Greensmith

        My view is that CPs were a mistake. They were created to appease religious bigots and social conservative bigots who would not have allowed any official recognition of same sex relationships – after all, long term same sex relationships undermine their argument that same sex relationships are fleeting, based on lust. The problem this leaves us with now is that CPs exist. They can’t be automatically transformed into marriage because they are a legal contract and the people in CPs contracted to a Civil Partnership, not a marriage. There are people who are ideologically opposed to marriage – some see it as patriarchal, some see it as buying into “hetero normative” culture, others have their own reasons. So we’re stuck with CPs for same sex couples who are already in them. That CPs are still allowed but only for same sex couples is something I see as discrimination based on sexual orientation. It’s not often that discrimination based on sexual orientation works in that direction, but when it does it’s as wrong as when it oppresses us.

        • Robert W. Pierce

          Now that this has been announced, I very much doubt if CPs will continue to be available to same-sex couples. Those already in them who don’t want to convert will be able to keep them but that’s where it ends. As I said in a previous post, I suspect few heterosexuals bothered to participate in the consultation. I don’t know if there is any hetero group of note that campaigned for them either other than a handful of couples in a lawsuit supported by Peter Tatchell.

          Interestingly, Tory MP Tim Loughton during third reading of the equal marriage bill raised the issue of straight access to CPs and was accused of trying to wreck the bill, a claim he denies although I very much suspect he was being disingenuous because prior to the bill’s introduction he was nowhere on the radar lobbying back benchers for them during second reading or even in Committee. I doubt if we’ll be hearing anything from him after this latest announcement which will prove that his amendment was bogus all along. Let’s not forget, the majority of Tory MPs opposed CPs from the outset in both houses.

        • MikeHomfray

          We don’t actually know the procedure as yet for transforming CP’s into marriage – no doubt that will be explained in due course. It has been stated that people in CP’s will be able to do so come December, though
          I think CP’s were a way of moving things forward. Perhaps achieving marriage would have been a possibility but I think given the recent history there was doubt as to whether the opposition would be too great, so I think it was a question of tactics – English law tends to be incremental

          • Gerry

            Yes, CPs were the best that was achievable at the time. Few countries then had SSM, and it would have been seen as a step too far. The Tories would have noisily voted against SSM almost unanimously simply because Labour had proposed it, and its inevitable defeat would have set us back at least a decade, we’d probably still be trying to get CPs rather than celebrating that SSMs are now a reality.

            Even further back, the London Civil Partnerships Register was a great advance in its day, even though it was only symbolic. It became redundant when CPs were introduced, and IMHO CPs are now equally redundant now that we have SSM. However, people with CPs should be able to keep them if they wish: you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game !

          • David Greensmith

            CPs was typical cynical politicking from the BLiar government. It was appeasement of bigots and is the reason that same sex marriage was delayed.

  • Bobbleobble

    I’m pleased that the date’s finally been set although why the massive delay I don’t know. But leaving civil partnerships as they are is probably the dumbest of the options available but no surprise that’s the option this government is going for!

    • Dee

      No mention so far about transgender people who want a Gender Recognition Certificate and who want to convert their marriage to a same sex one then? Will the GR Panel put up new forms and guidelines on the same day?

      • David Greensmith

        Dee – from what I understand the “spousal veto” problem hasn’t been addressed at all by the same sex marriage legislation.

    • Jen

      Given the numbers in the Commons you have to assume it’s a Labour / Tory agreement to keep things this way – after all Labour amended the original Civil Partnerships bill to exclude mixed-sex couples

      • Bobbleobble

        I suspect it’s more to do with Cameron not wanting to rock the boat anymore with his backbenchers. Extending civil partnerships would be interpreted by many as an attack on marriage and Cameron can’t afford another display of disunity especially with the polls as close as they are and Labour currently ripping themselves to shreds over Ed Milliband.

        • Gerry

          Absolutely ! Another reason why, although theoretically justified, it’s not worth our while putting any effort into extending CPs to straights. There’s no point in giving disaffected Tories etc another excuse to support UKIP. I’m never one to suggest appeasing bigots or UKIP, but it’s silly to antagonise them for no good reason because it may boost their recruitment.

          If it’s a really good cause (e.g. equal marriage) then it doesn’t matter how wound up UKIP and their ilk become, but baiting them unnecessarily can be like playing with fire. Just stop issuing new CPs and let them quietly fade away !

  • Sean A Donnelly

    Where supposed to be fighting for equality.! So why on earth can straight couples not have a civil partnership.? As a gay man i think this is great but the option should be rolled out by everybody.! No wonder people get there backs up.!

    • david

      see my post below – why? what am I missing?

    • Benji

      It will be interesting to see what the results of the Consultation say about demand from Hetero couples for CPs

  • Gerry

    Good news that there’s finally a date for converting CPs to marriages, that will allow people to plan accordingly.

    I’m not bothered that CPs aren’t being extended to straights; I suspect there will be few if any new ones taking place, and CPs will probably end up being abolished because they’re irrelevant now.

    If there really are any straights who want a CP, they can campaign for them to be made available. We should instead concentrate our campaigning efforts on the big issues that really matter such as Uganda, Brunei, Russia, The Gambia etc.

  • Cal

    Is there any information about how to go about it? I assume it’s just a matter of contacting the council and getting a marriage certificate sent through the post. I wouldn’t be interested in any elaborate procedure. I’ve had my wedding.

    • David Greensmith

      I expect we’ll have to pay, as well. Bit of a cheek since we’ve already paid once.

      • Cal

        I won’t mind paying if it is a nominal fee in line with other small admin charges.

  • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

    Umm … there will be those who will accuse the gay community of enjoying privileges that they do not ~ and they will be technically correct on this point. In my view it should be made equal for all. Advantage or privilege will not help the cause of equality.

    • Benji

      Its not our fault that the Churches have insisted that CPs are retained for their members. You might just as well say they have been retained for Christians

      • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

        Agreed ~ it is not your fault ~ I didn’t say or suggest otherwise. I just say that if CP is to be retained, it should be available to all. I also say the same for marriage in church ~ it should be available to all. Those churches that refuse to perform marriage for any legally qualifying couples should have their licenses revoked.

  • Stephen

    Who is the ‘senior government source’. What is this person’s name?
    Why did Pink News not ask why straight people are to be denied fewer options than gay couples in registering their relationships.
    This is meant to be a news site – this is a very basic question.
    Why was it omitted.
    And surely the owner of this website is hardly a neutral source to be asking for a comment on this issue – isn’t there a conflict of interest in getting the owner of a website to be asked a question as an expert, on the website itself.

    • john

      Well PN has provided us with more news and info than anyone else has! Well done to them for getting this much info . I’ve been nagging for a date for the last yr from loads of people and have got nowhere!

  • Fordicus

    But why retain civil partnerships at all? What is the point? It is like giving black people access to drink at a formerly whites-only water fountain, but at the same time retaining the less-desirable blacks-only fountain in place. It has served its purpose and should be scrapped.

    • http://thephora.net/ The Zizzanax

      No it’s not. Blacks not being able to drink at the same fountain on pain of arrest is a lot different than not being able to marry, but given the compromise of a civil partnership.

      This is why the world outside a few countries in Western Europe generally despise your existence, friend.

      • Brett Gibson

        Oh I’m sorry, were black people ever illegal? Were black people ever put in prison purely because of the colour of their skin? Did they throw black people in prison then force them to bleach their skin? Were black people ever arrested for being seen in public? Were black people ever disowned by their families for being black? Were black people ever banned from being talked about in schools?

        NO, so kindly f*ck right off.

        Black people and gay people have both been treated poorly in the past. While their cases were very different, it’s still discrimination.

        “This is why the world outside a few countries in Western Europe generally despise your existence, friend”

        You’re forgetting the whole North American continent bar a few islands, Australia, New Zealand, you know, generally where you find well-educated, free-thinking and kind people. This hatred you depict is just the price Europe has to pay for being light years ahead of any other continent on this planet.

        Also I think you’ll find the reason so many dislike gay people is from years of religious lies and brainwashing, poor education, poverty and not respecting women, who bring a kind, loving nature to this barbaric male-run world.

        • http://thephora.net/ The Zizzanax

          It’s not the same thing, you know it, and your emotional tantrums fail to prove to me otherwise.

          Also I think you’ll find the reason so many dislike gay people is from years of religious lies and brainwashing, poor education, poverty and not respecting women, who bring a kind, loving nature to this barbaric male-run world.

          I fail to see the evidence you provide to your claims.

          You’re forgetting th-

          No I’m not. People in North America (Mexico too? really?) overwhelmingly oppose the homosexual lifestyle, and not necessarily for religious reasons (I myself oppose homosexuality’s preeminence for purely secular reasons). Did you know that California’s citizens overwhelmingly voted to outlaw gay marriage? Did you know that Mexico City is the only place in all of Mexico where gay people are recognised as being able to enter a relationship?

          Go back and do more research, chump.

          This hatred you depict is just the price Europe has to pay for being light years ahead of any other continent on this planet

          …Given your support for previous statements as well as your own words, I think you just hate black people.

          • Bobbleobble

            Just to pick you up on a few so called facts. First of all where do you get the idea that North America is so anti the ‘gay lifestyle’ whatever that means? Polls in the US and Canada and even Mexico (where the last poll on same sex marriage had support at 52%) suggest that you’re wrong.

            Californian citizens did not overwhelmingly vote to outlaw gay marriage, the final result was 52.2% to 47.8%, not exactly a landslide? Since then four referenda have taken place in which same sex marriage actually won, in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington and Maine.

            Mexico City is not the only place in Mexico that you can get married, the state of Quintana Roo also allows same sex couples to marry and several other states have civil unions. In any event if you marry in Mexico City or QR then you are considered married throughout Mexico.

            It seems somewhat hypocritical to chide others over their apparent lack of research when you clearly haven’t done any yourself.

          • Brett Gibson

            Purely secular reasons? Would you care to enlighten me?

            Homophobia only exists in humans because of religion. So I’d just LOVE to hear your ‘secular reasons’.

    • http://www.culinarytourism.org/ Garry

      personally I would like to see civil partnerships offered to all who are non-religious regardless if GLBT or Str8. Marriage could then be offered for people who chose a faith. Of course both would hold the same rights. Just my thoughts,

      • Steven Gregory

        I think this explanation from a commenter who lives in The Netherlands illustrates your proposal: in their system of government, civil unions are issued by government and carry legal weight. Marriage is the province of the church and carries no legal weight without connection to a civil union.

  • john

    Finally, a date! Still peeved off for the unnecessary delay though!
    Can’t quite see how the UK is going to get away with the option of not offering CPs to straights whilst giving gay and lebian couples the option. Seems a perfect case for Peter Thatchell to take up and go to Europe with. Seems a much more clear cut case than the original one about the UK not offering SSMs.
    What exactly is Scotland doing about straight CPs? They”ll have to follow suit I guess since there is no option in Eng/Wales to recognise straight CPs.

    • Robert W. Pierce

      I suspect that the reason why CPs aren’t going to be extended to straight couples is that few participated in the consultation. It would be interesting to find out what the result actually was if it is to be published at all. It was my gut feeling all along they wouldn’t be extending them to everyone. What will happen is those already in CPs can keep them or convert but no more CPs will be available. Though I support both, what I take from it is now that CPs are merely a stepping stone to full marriage equality. Denmark has abolished its own version of civil unions, the first country ever to introduce a legal union for gay couples in 1989 after equal marriage became available in 2012. Marriage now seems to be the trend and the only one that has become the standard recognised in 17 countries and more U.S. state, two more added yesterday and more to follow with full portability throughout each country. CPs have never conveyed as much flexibility as marriages once a couple leaves the UK. The varying degrees of non-marital unions for gay couples will diminish over time.

      • johnflondon

        Robert The DCMS has published on its website their response to the consultation. Appendix B gives a breakdown of some of the figures. Surprisingly of the 11,000 or so respondents nearly 78% identified as straight !

        • Robert W. Pierce

          John, thanks. I just took a look at it. It seems that of the measley 11,266 who responded, a majority of 8,102 thought that CPs should NOT be extended to straight couples while only 2,317 thought they should. A really pour turnout though for all respondents. So there really was consensus not to open them up to straight people contrary to what the Government are saying. I wouldn’t mind betting that of those who voted against CPs for straights in that 78% figure were mostly straight foes of equal marriage. If you remember, many of them were even opposed to CPs and always thought that it watered down marriage, but they found them a very convenient tool to justify opposition to equal marriage did they not? It’s clear from this result that there isn’t much demand for straights having access to CPs.

          • johnflondon

            Robert. Yes I agree I am sure it was the same sex marriage opponents who would be the majority against the extension. For completeness of equality I think they should have extended but I am sure it will now just die in the ditch. Peter Tatchell will probably fight on but can’t say that I will be joining him on the barricades on this one. The goal was to get equal marriage and that has been achieved. Wonder how many of the SSM opponents prayed for all the Pride rain yesterday !!!

          • Robert W. Pierce

            I’m surprised some UKIPers didn’t make comments, re inclement weather. If you recall, the weather was far worse when Manif Pour Tous orchestrated a demo in Trafalgar Square last year during the equal marriage final reading to which only 1,000+ turned up. More than a washout.

  • Benji

    At last, the end is in sight. As a deeply religous boy I’ve been preserving my viginity through 47 years of bachelor-dom & 9 years of civil partnership. Only another six months & I can finally get consummated!

    • loocher

      Only you can’t cos there’s no concept of consummation for a gay marriage.

      • doh

        You can consummate gay marriage. It is just a case of definition, which shouldn’t be that difficult

        • Bobbleobble

          I think the better option is to remove the concept of consummation altogether. It’s archaic and unnecessary.

          But it isn’t actually all that straight forward. What counts as consummation for a gay male couple, anal sex? But what about couples that don’t have anal sex, oral sex? But then neither oral or anal sex count as consummation for heterosexuals so that’s not fair. But then making consummation more onerous for straight couples than it is currently isn’t fair either. And what about gay female couples?

          Far better to get rid of consummation for everyone in a legal sense since it really only has religious connotations anyway. It’d still be available for religious people but it’s not really necessary in a civil setting. And while we’re at it, get rid of adultery too.

          • loocher

            The law provides that only hetero marriage are voidable if they haven’t been consummated and that adultery can only be heterosexual. I have some sympathy for removing both concepts but I fear that it would send a dreadful message to neuter marriage at the same time that it is opened up to gay people. Gay sex is still very much in the closet and mainstream culture is often still very uncomfortable with it. Gay marriage needs to be overtly sexual to try to get past this problem. I think we need to stop worrying about who is penetrating what with what and focus instead on sexual fidelity.

          • Bobbleobble

            I’m not sure why that would neuter marriage and I’m not sure why gay marriage should be overtly sexual.

            However, I agree it’s time to stop focusing on who puts what where and instead look at what’s really important.

        • loocher

          Not as the law stands you can’t. Parliament avoided having to define what would constitute consummation of a gay marriage by saying that the concept wouldn’t apply.

    • http://thephora.net/ The Zizzanax

      Yeah, I’d like to know that one too. how does one “consummate” a gay marriage? They’re not analogous except for how certain minorities have decided they are such

      • doh

        Errrr, by having sexual intercourse?

      • Bobbleobble

        Of course they’re analogous. The concept of consummation is embarrassingly out of date and has actually been removed in some countries, after all why shouldn’t it be a marriage until after you have sex? In any event lack of consummation does not automatically invalidate a marriage, if both parties are happy without sex then the marriage remains in tact.

  • Benji

    As we suspiected all along, the delay was nothing to do with working out procedures & systems and all about awaiting the outcome of the consultation on the future of CPs. It feels as if we’ve been the victims of collateral damage in a political struggle

  • http://thephora.net/ The Zizzanax

    I wouldn’t trust that creepy self-admitted “young boy lover” Peter Tatchell as far as I could throw him (and I’d throw him into a roaring fire if I could).

  • kane

    how convenient for tories to leave the concept of gays only cp intact. surely they are not thinking of getting rid of ssm

    • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

      To be clear at the start, I’m no Tory supporter. However, I would only scrap CP at that point when all those who have a CP had chosen to convert it to marriage. There may be those who wish to retain their CP and I would not be in favour of denying them that right.

      • kane

        why would anyone in cp be that bothered by semantics?

        • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

          Well, they just might be a religious person who agrees with the church that the word ‘marriage’ defines that it can only exist between a man and a woman. I think it might place such people in an invidious position. They would then need to dissolve their CP/marriage to remain true to their belief. I don’t agree with them, but I would not impose my values in that way.

          Addendum. Conversely, there may be those who do not wish to use the work ‘marriage’ to describe their relationship due to negative feelings about religion / church.

          • kane

            the biggest church in the world doesnt recognise any form of gay relationship but in the eyes of those churches that might, any official recognition of cp is still seen as a necessary lesser evil and only reluctantly accepted in order to fight ssm.
            religious people in cps by hanging to that compromise are deceiving themselves by thinking that it makes them more acceptable to religious community.

          • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

            I’m not disagreeing with you btw. I did not celebrate the introduction of CP wholeheartedly because it is different in that it set out to replace equality with some notion of parity. It is faux.
            The new rules promote difference instead of promoting equality.

            In my view, you are correct; religion / church needs to change its perspective by ending discrimination and start welcoming all fools into its arms. This needs to be top down. I’m just not comfortable with picking out a few folk who want to hang on to their CPs. They took what the state offered at that time and should be entitled to keep it if that is their wish. I’m not instinctively in favour of retrospective legislation. In my view conversion from a CP to a marriage should be a choice for that couple.

            I say either now make CPs available to all or stop offering them all together.

          • kane

            i agree with your point and certainly i wouldnt want to force those in cp to change it to ssm. i can understand an emotional approach. but why leave future cps available only to gay couples? what is the prevailing argument behind this idea? hopefully not what i was thinking in my original comment

          • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

            Maybe the May general election is on their mind and they are afraid of further criticism or controversy?

  • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica
  • Ben

    I think this is great to finally be able to ‘upgrade’ CPs to marriage- but sadly, my CP took place in Northern Ireland so I’m still second-class. It seems the only way around it is to get my CP dissolved and then re-marry in England or Wales.

    • http://thephora.net/ The Zizzanax

      Before you go off comparing yourself to black folk too, let me as you this: Can you drink out of the same fountain as a straight person? Do you have the full 100% support of the media?

      Black people had neither of those things. You gays should be grateful that society (despite its imminent collapse under it’s own debauchery and weight) has paved the way for you to have it easy, and that the only real ‘struggle’ is the one going on in your imaginations.

      • Bobbleobble

        100% support of the media, don’t make me laugh!

        I do love it when straight people have the gall to tell us that we have it easy. I also love the apocalyptic nonsense people like you love to spout, it makes you look really sane!

    • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

      … and then go and live in the Isle of Man who will only recognise your marriage as a CP. It’s crazy isn’t it?

  • REALrenovato

    I wonder if one of the considerations in retaining CP is that many countries such as Finland, Germany, Chech Republic Eire, IoM, Channel Is. etc. still have CP? Of course as Marriages (for same-sex couples) are recognised in those jurisdictions as CP’s then I see no reason for not recognising CP’s from those countries as Marriage in the UK., except of course the elephant in the room – religion; but as this would be civil marriage (not religious marriage) really they have no case. It would also have the advantage of giving two fingers to Welby and the CofE who are determined to continue with the bullshite that CP’s are not intimate sexual relationships!
    THe real problem with CP’s being extended to Mixed sex couples is that they would have no recognition outside the UK borders so a straight couple going to Spain for a summer break would become legal strangers, the same as happens to a gay couple in a civil partnership right now, because Spain does not recognise CP’s, only (civil) Marriages. The advantage of,designating (in UK law) recognising all civil partnership as civil mariage, would be to overcome this problem. It does of course raise the issue – why still continue to perform CP’s in the UK at all.

  • http://www.culinarytourism.org/ Garry

    We held our civil partnership 7yrs ago now. Being a bi-national couple we are living in the US where we got married last year and I am in the process of waiting for my green card. Does anyone know how I would obtain a marriage cert from the UK?

    • Dewey

      you will either have to return to the uk and go to a registrar or find a british consulate and apply there – I don’t want to have to return to the uk to have to get our certificate!

    • Robert W. Pierce

      There’s a British Consulate in New York, Garry.

  • Steven Gregory

    Are those involved in this process really too stupid to realize that one set of rules for gays and another for non-gays is NOT EQUAL?

  • Not Telling

    Either remove Civil Partnerships or make them available to straight couples.

    Otherwise it’s not exactly equality is it?

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