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Peter Tatchell: ‘David Cameron has betrayed equality by denying straight couples civil partnerships’

  • Pablo

    Oh Pete, you look like a mug. Who cares if they can’t get civil partnerships, they have marriage. It’s like asking why the rich can’t go to soup kitchens.

    • That There Other David

      You honestly can’t see how our opponents will use this against us?

      More fool you.

      • Pablo

        More fool you for not blaming the homophobes for their actions and giving them an excuse.

        • That There Other David

          The government just gave them an excuse, not me. Worse, they just gave them ammunition.

          And you applaud them for it. Well done.

    • Jones

      There are people who want the state to recognise their relationship but not get married. These will be straight and gay couples.

      • de Villiers

        That’s right. In France, 42% of couples seeking a union choose a PACS over a marriage. It is considered more modern and equal.

        • Rob

          The difference is that a PACS is significantly legally different than a marriage. A civil partnership is identical legally. People who think that they would doing something more egalitarian, progressive, or devoid of the ‘baggage’ of marriage by having a civil partnership are kidding themselves. If couples gay and straight want an alternative to marriage, we should seek to create an institution that is significantly legally different.

          • de Villiers

            Not any more. A PACS is identical to a marriage. And the 42% of straight French couples who choose one over a marriage are not kidding themselves.

          • atalanta

            That is not correct, de Villiers. There remain significant differences between marriage and PACS.

            The most important differences are in two key areas: 1) inheritance (who benefits, not death duties) and 2) relationship dissolution (both procedure and distribution of assets).


            It is my understanding that these substantive differences are highly influential in the popularity of PACS.

          • john

            de villiers … that is absolutely not correct, they brought parity with regards to various tax issues but they are a completely different concept. PACS is a pre written agreement, where each partners decided how to split their assets and they can easily break that agreement if one of them wishes. There is no automatic inheritance rights. No will, you get nothing regardless of whether you’ve got a PACS (unlike marriage). Visa are not given to non EU partners very easily (unlike marriage) etc etc

  • That There Other David

    Absolutely spot on as usual. I don’t want special legal treatment, I want equality. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Rob

    This is hardly one of the great injustices of our time. Civil partnerships have existed for only a very short period of time in historical terms, and they were created specifically to deny true equality to same-sex couples. Activists and academics who claim that there is some great discrimination occuring are just posturing. Civil partnerships convey virtually identical rights, responsbilities, and privileges to marriage. Allowing a straight couple to have a ‘civil partnership’ would in no way separate them from the historical ‘baggage’ of marriage. My view is that new civil partnerships should be closed to everyone.

    • de Villiers

      You are a hypocrite who would deny choice to others. If you do not want a civil partnership then do not have one. Is that not the standard argument used for people against gay marriage. In France, 42% of straight couples who want a union choose a PACS because it is considered more modern and without the baggage. Just because YOU do not think so, that is no reason to deny choice to others.

      • Rob

        The difference is that a PACS is significantly legally different than a marriage. A civil partnership is identical legally. People who think that they would doing something more egalitarian, progressive, or devoid of the ‘baggage’ of marriage by having a civil partnership are kidding themselves. If couples gay and straight want an alternative to marriage, we should seek to create an institution that is significantly legally different. The hypocrisy is saying that you are doing something different from marriage by getting a civil partnership, when you are entering into an identical legal relationship.

  • Truth

    Surely, as soon as Civil Partnerships can be converted into Marriages – they’ll abolish CPs… won’t they? Seems stupid retaining a two-tier system.

    • A very significant minority of both same-sex couples and mixed-sex couples say they would prefer a civil partnership. That was the case in consultation we did in Scotland, and in the UK Govt’s recent consultation. Why deny them that choice? We should be maximising the choices for everyone. That’s why opening civil partnership to mixed-sex couples has always been a core part of the equal marriage campaign in Scotland, and we and our partners will continue to campaign for it.

      • de Villiers

        Yes – and we can see how that works abroad if people raise their eyes to look.

        • john

          A French straight couples in a PACS has bugger all rights in the UK. A straight person doing a CP in Scotland will have bugger all rights in the rest of the UK and none in most other countries of the world. Straight marriages (unlike gay ones) are universally recognised and PACS (gay or straight) apart from being different to a CP and marriage isn’t recognised as PACS in almost every country in the world.

    • de Villiers

      Stupid to you – but you would deny choice to others. In France, 42% of straight couples who want a union choose a PACS because it is considered more modern and secular. Why should people be denied that choice? Seems stupid to prevent it.

      • Truth

        Errrm – sorry. Not with you at all. I thought this WHOLE ‘gay marriage’ issue was about EQUALITY …. a single CIVIL contract which two people – of whatever sex – sign. You can call it whatever you want – Marriage / Civil Partnership / Pre-Post Nuptial Agreement. Why do we need to complicate things? You may as well just stick to the two-system Marriage / Civil Partnerships. Anything else would seem to negate all the effort which went into securing a SINGLE and EQUAL system.

  • This is what the 5th thread on PN today to focus on conversion of CP to marriage and it is completely understandable that PN and the pink community at large and you and me see fit to celebrate it.

    But please ……………… can I draw your attention to something?

    Those folk who are married and have changed their gender presentation (transitioned) can soon apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate without the need to dissolve their marriage.

    This is a something of a breakthrough for the trans community and I’m not seeing it being celebrated here.

    I’m gonna have a glass of something to celebrate that this evening. Will you please join me?


  • Civil Partnerships were introduced as a “skim milk marriage” to avoid bestowing dignity on LGBT people’s relationships. It’s a wonder that any straight people would want to have second class marriages.

    Regardless, Scotland got it right on the first go with our Same Sex Marriage Act, which bestows equality for ALL.

      • OK – well equality it is then!

        • Scotland will get a government consultation on this rather later – probably in 2015. The Equality Network and partners from the equal marriage campaign in Scotland will be working for equal civil partnership, open to all couples regardless of gender. There is certainly a demand for it from a significant minority of couples.

          • john

            I think it would be a terrible thing for Scotland to now have straight CPs which would have no recognition in Eng/Wales and probably in most other countries in the world apart from countries like France, Holland etc. It was a total nightmare for us not having our CP recognised in France prior to 2009 , we couldn’t dissolve our CP to do a PACs, we were without any rights at all in France , people were paying 60% inhertance tax on their worldwide assets. It’s a very dangerous road to encourage straights to get a civil status which is unrecognised elsewhere.

          • However, same-sex couples who marry will also have a civil status which in unrecognised in most of the world, and yet we have all supported equal marriage. We either wait for the whole world to do it first, or we do the right thing and then it’s inevitable that the status won’t travel to some other countries. We’re happy that Scotland is one of the leading countries on LGBTI equality, but that inevitably means people lose rights when they go to some other countries.
            We also don’t think it’s for us to say to couples “your status won’t be recognised in many other countries, therefore we’re going to campaign against you being allowed it in the first place.” We think it should be up to couples to decide whether they want a civil partnership, given what it is, and the limited international recognition.

    • Ciaran

      You clearly don`t understand the issue here it comes down to equality in the eyes of the law and choice. There are many heterosexual couples who don`t like marriage and see it as an outdated patriarchal institution of ownership and don`t want the baggage of that but prefer Civil Unions, why should they be denied that right and that choice?
      We know the “Traditional Marriage” was deeply patriarchal and a symbol of ownership of women by men and our current traditions regarding marriage are still founded on that despite the fact women now have almost legal equality.
      All that has happen is one discrimination has been replaced with another the ban of gay people getting married has been lifted but replaced with a ban of straight people having a Civil union, that is not legal equality.

      • Civil Unions were introduced to avoid giving gay couples fully legitimated equality with straight couples, while grudgingly bestowing equal rights. They were in effect Civil Marriage, without the concomitant status of “marriage”.

        Since it appears that straight couples now want this, I have no problem with it at all, however it should be remembered how Civil Partnerships came to be in the first place.

        Your allegation that I “don’t understand equality” is not supported by the facts.

        • Ciaran

          My allegation you claim? The very fact that we now still have legal inequality enshrined in law should be the issue of discussion .
          We all know how and why Civil Unions came to be yes because and that was the result of denying same sex couple equal social status and making their relationships inferior.
          However the landscape has now changed.
          You appear to want to justify legal discrimination against opposite-sex couples simply because same-sex couples have been discriminated against by heterosexuals in the past.
          Two wrongs don`t make a right in this case and if a minority of the LGBT community see this a form getting their own back on heterosexuals that makes them no better than the homophobes who once oppressed same sex relations.
          There is a clear use of civil unions which has now been established that they can be an alternative to marriage whilst still providing some of the legal rights and benefits of marriage without the baggage.
          Take the Netherlands for example, it works there so why can`t it work here.

          • I’ve re-read all my postings, and fail to see anything that says or even implies that straight people should not have Civil Partnerships if they want them. I merely expressed wonder that they would, considering the origin was to have a dumbed down form of Civil Marriage, to placate the homophobic godbotherers.

            Read again my words copied below:

            “It’s a wonder that any straight people would want to have second class marriages.”

            In my comment I also refer to the Scottish law’s intention to provide Civil Partnerships for heterosexual couples in a positive light, so I think you’re either just loaded for bear against me for some other, as yet unstated reason, or you just like picking a fight, and if there aren’t grounds to start one, you’ll create them out of thin air.

        • de Villiers

          Yes – that is the same in France. The PACS was introduced because the PS could not bring themselves to introduce a gay marriage. And now, 42% of straight couples who want a union choose a PACS because it is more modern.

    • de Villiers

      It is a matter of choice. And if you raise your eyes abroad, you will see that in France, 42% of straight couples seeking a union choose a PACS over a marriage. It is considered more modern and equal.

      • Mihangel apYrs

        and is it recognised elsewhere in the EU, world?

  • I really don’t see why CP’s were not just introduced as a blanket method of coupling, gay or straight. Why did they bother to complictae things, unless, of course, they were afraid of angering the religious minorities?
    There should, very simply, be two methods of coupling; civil marriage and religious marriage. Both should entail the legal business of a couple entering into a legitimate, contracted relationship and then either that is it or you can go on to have a religious ceremony.

    • Truth

      Exactly my point (see above). Keep the ‘contract’ civil. If someone wants all the trappings and frippery of a religious ‘ceremony’ IN ADDITION … fine. But keep the basic, legal requirement neutral and EQUAL.

  • Gerry

    I’m a great supporter of Peter Tatchell, but I’m afraid he’s really lost the plot on this issue.

    Firstly, is there really any evidence of any great demand for straight CPs?

    Secondly, if any straight couples want a CP, why can’t they start campaigning on their own behalf instead of expecting us to do it for them?

    There are so many real issues that are so much more urgent and important than this theoretical one – such as vicious legislation in Brunei, Uganda, The Gambia, Russia etc and equalisation of UK pensions. Let’s focus all our energies and resources on real topics such as these and not get sidetracked with minor issues.

    One fine day when when no-one’s at risk of imprisonment or death because they’re gay, that will be the time to indulge in the luxury of fretting about CPs for straights, if CPs even exist then !

    • de Villiers

      So – just because you have what you want, others can be denied what they want? How sad and, frankly, pathetic. Opening up the civil partnerships to all, as PACS are in France, will give everyone the opportunity to choose a more modern form of union, as chosen by 42% of straight couples in France seeking a union.

      • Gerry

        I have no problem with Straight CPs. Yes, if we keep Gay CPs then it’s logical to open them up to straights. However, my concern is that the effort and resources put into Straight CPs would necessarily reduce that which is available for much, much more important issues such as those I’ve mentioned above.

        I recognise that the ‘Can’t Multi-Task’ argument needs to be used sparingly. It doesn’t apply to governments, e.g. our opponents used the ‘Fix The Economy before worrying about Gay Marriage’ line, and that’s invalid. However, the number of effective rallies, marches, campaign, petitions, headlines, newspaper column inches, TV interviews etc is much more limited. The more resources given to promoting Straight CPs, the fewer will be available for the the really big issues.

        In other words, if I had David Cameron’s ear for two minutes, I’d spend literally every second urging him to take action on Uganda, Brunei etc because real people are dying and being imprisoned. Even though I would support Straight CPs, I wouldn’t waste one of those precious 120 seconds just because one day someone somewhere might happen to prefer one. It’s just the language of priorities.

        Incidentally, your viewpoint would be more respected if you refrained from personal abuse…

        • de Villiers

          Yes – because saying someone has lost the plot is refraining from abuse?

    • There is evidence of demand for mixed-sex civil partnership – see the UK Govt’s own consultation report that they released today – a significant minority of respondents said they would prefer a civil partnership. It is an LGBTI issue, in part because a significant minority of same-sex couples want a CP, but also of course because a significant proportion of LGBTI people are in mixed-sex relationships. No-one’s suggesting that this is the only important issue though. As an organisation, the Equality Network multi-tasks, working currently on equal civil partnership, equal legal recognition for trans and intersex people, equal rights across the Commonwealth including Uganda, Nigeria, Brunei, and many many other issues. So, to be fair to him, does Peter Tatchell.

  • HellOnHighHeels

    I kind of see his point, but at the end of the day, civil partnerships were only created to give a partial equality- enough that MP’s could say something had been done, but not enough to truly treat gays as valid members of society.

  • de Villiers

    In France, 42% of couples seeking a union choose a PACS over a marriage. It is considered more modern and equal.

    • Truth

      Yes – but that’s all just semantics. EQUALITY is the important message and I’m very surprised at Peter Tatchel for not supporting that.

  • kg

    The two are very different. civil partnership is mainly about having legal acknowledgment of relationship. marriage (especially same sex) is also about the relationship being recognised as legit. opposite sex couples don’t need to be thought of as legit as they already are. Its more important for same sex couples to marry

  • Ray

    ‘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 unwanted, abusive and harmful.’

    Written by Jimmy Saville ? … – Peter Tatchell

    Tatchell contributes chapter on reducing age of sexual consent to 1980′s paedophilia book about (inter alia) ‘Incest’, ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’, ‘Child Prostitution’ and ‘How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable’, edited by paedophilia advocate and former vice-chair of Paedophile Information Exchange, Warren Middleton:

    “(I)n the realm of sexual ages of consent, we need to ask whether the law has any legitimate role to play in criminalising consenting, victimless sexual activity.” (The Betrayal of Youth, p 118)

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