October 2, 2015

The Herald – Different-sex couples should also be eligible for civil partnerships

“Everyone in Scotland who would like to be able to choose between a marriage and a civil partnership, should respond to the Scottish Government’s “Review of civil partnership”, launched on 22 September.  The consultation gives us all an opportunity to persuade the Scottish Government to change its mind about opposing different-sex civil partnerships; recognising that the existing law discriminates directly on the basis of sexual orientation (contrary to the Human Rights Act 1998).  It is a simple matter of equality to extend civil partnership to different-sex couples.

A lot of public money was spent on setting up civil partnership.  It would be wasteful to abolish a public institution, which some same-sex couples would like to retain, and which a significant minority of different-sex couples would like to join.  These different-sex couples do not wish to marry.  As long as they are excluded from civil partnership, they and their children may suffer from their not having a registered relationship.

The cost of extension should be minimal, because all of the necessary procedures already exist.  Any increase in survivor’s pension benefits would be the same as if the newly civilly partnered couples had chosen to marry.

A campaign calling for equal civil partnerships is underway in England and Wales: a Private Member’s Bill will be debated in the House of Commons on 21 October, and a judicial review under the Human Rights Act will be heard by the High Court in January (equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk). We, the steering group and supporters of the campaign for equal civil partnerships, based on both sides of the border, want to see all couples in the UK afforded the same rights to civil partnerships – regardless of sex, sexuality, or location, and need support from across the UK to make that a reality.

In addition to responding to the consultation, explaining why equal civil partnerships are important to you personally, as many people as possible should contact their MSPs and MPs and ask them to end this bizarre anomaly of two choices for same-sex couples, one for different-sex couples.  In every other equal marriage country in Europe, all couples have the same choices.”

 

Lee Chalmers, Director, The Parliament Project and Feminist Researcher

Charles Keidan

Martin Loat, CEO, Propeller PR

Fiona Millar, Journalist and Education Campaigner

Dr. Rebecca Steinfeld, Political Scientist and BBC New Generation Thinker

Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner

Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London

Shelagh Young, Chair, The Phone Co-Op

 

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