MP who opposed equal marriage says lack of straight civil partnerships is a ‘glaring inequality’
Tory MP Tim Loughton, who opposed the introduction of same-sex marriage, has said it is a “glaring inequality” that straight couples aren’t allowed civil partnerships.
Civil partnerships were introduced across the UK from 2004, and remain available to same-sex couples, though same-sex marriage has been subsequently introduced in England, Wales and Scotland.
Though marriage is available for couples without distinction as to sex, civil partnerships remain limited to same-sex couples.
The MP for East Worthing and Shoreham Tim Loughton, who was a strong opponent of same-sex marriage in 2013 and was accused of trying to derail the legislation through a wrecking amendment, argued in Parliament today that the current laws discriminate against straight people.
Speaking to present a Ten Minute Rule Bill on the issue, Mr Loughton noted that it was his third attempt to push the government on the issue.
He said: “My bill makes the hatrick appearance today in the hope that it will be third time lucky.
“Just as the house decided that it was time for equal marriage then, it is surely time for equal civil partnerships now, particularly as it remains an unintended inequality created by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, and is backed by many supporters of that legislation as well as those like me, who are less enthusiastic.
He added: “[Straight civil partnerships] never made it into the marriage bill, which I think would have made it a better act, and that is why change is still necessary.
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“This bill will correct a glaring but unintended inequality, resulting from the same-sex marriage act, where same-sex couples are still entitled to continue in a civil partnership, to take up a civil partnership or to enjoy the recent extention of marriage.
“Opposite sex couples have only the option of conventional marriage, all by it by a range of religious institutions. That is not fair. It gives rise to inequality in an act to promote equalities.”
Mr Loughton added that some people see marriage as a “patriarchal form of social control”, and that lots of people have “complex motives” for wanting civil partnerships.
He added: “Why should those who have made a conscious choice not to go for a traditional marriage not have the opportunity to have the same rights, responsibilities and protections in the eyes of the law that we rightly extended to same-sex couples in 2004?”
The bill was tabled for a second reading next year.
Statistics recently released showed that the numbers of civil partnerships have fallen drastically since the introduction of equal marriage, with monthly stats plunging to double figures.
Some activists remain in favour of slowly phasing out civil partnerships, by ‘grandfathering’ the legislation and allowing interest in them to dwindle naturally.