Equal marriage bill amendment to include cohabiting family members rejected
An amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which would extend civil partnership rights to cohabiting family members and carers, has been rejected by peers at Report Stage.
Amendment 94 would have extended civil partnership rights to cohabiting family members or carers, who share a house for over five years.
At a vote in the Lords, the amendment was rejected with 267 votes to 89.
Commenting on the measure, Lord Alli said: “Baroness Deech sees civil partnerships as a piece of paper that brings a financial benefit,” arguing that the amendment was not appropriate for the equal marriage bill.
Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws accused the amendment of attempting to “dilute” the purpose of civil partnerships, and said she was “shocked”, to see lawyers in the chamber supporting it.
She asked: “What would undermine the condition of same-sex marriages more than allowing fathers and daughters into a partnership contract?”
Baroness Farrington said: “I would be delighted to be debating this issue, not in a review, but now.”
She went on to say that the amendment was the “right wagon” attached to the “wrong train.” She also said that she hopes they will find another vehicle to attach their wagon to, so that she may support it.
Lord Pannick noted the strong arguments on both sides of the debate on Amendment 94, but said that he would not support it.
Baroness Barker said that the rights and responsibilities of people entering a relationship are wholly different from the rights and responsibilities of members of the same family.
“This sets up some potentially damaging and ugly relationships in families.” She said she does not think it should be a part of any review.
Lord Anderson claimed that “public opinion would consider this an important matter.”
Baroness Thornton said that she understood the tax issues raised by Baroness Deech through the amendment, but agreed with many other peers in saying that the equal marriage bill is not the appropriate way to address the issue.
After it completes the Report stage today, the bill will go through its Third Reading on 15 July.
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