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October 7, 2016

Campaign writes to London Mayor and Jersey Ministers

khan-and-gorst

The Equal Civil Partnerships this week wrote to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Chief Minister of Jersey Ian Gorst asking for their support.

We have good reason to believe that in these bids we will be successful.

Our campaign now has the backing of London Assembly Members from the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats. In 2000 City Hall in London did something brave and bold: it introduced the first ever registration scheme for same-sex couples, the first step along the way to civil partnerships and ultimately equal marriage. We want the Mayor to follow that legacy and the lead of his Assembly Members and use his position to promote and push for the extension of civil partnerships. We’ve requested a meeting with Sadiq so watch this space!

We also wrote to the Chief Minister in Jersey. Jersey is in the process of introducing same-sex marriage and in our letter we urged the States (as they are known) to do what the British government should have done in 2013: extend civil partnerships. With the precedent now set by the Isle of Man for this cause, we have great hope that Chief Minister Gorst will be open to the idea.

The letters went in the post yesterday so we will keep you updated once we have news!

 

 

September 16, 2016

Over half of respondents to Scottish government survey support extending civil partnerships

More than half of respondents (52%) to a Scottish government consultation on civil partnerships think they should be extended to different-sex couples.what-should-happen-to-cps

The option of extending civil partnerships had the support of an overwhelming majority of those who completed the survey. Less than 30% now believe that civil partnerships should not be extended.

The data was obtained by the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign from the Scottish government. Matt Hawkins, Campaign Manager for the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign, said:

“The results of the Scottish government’s consultation adds to the momentum behind our call for the extension of civil partnerships to different-sex couples. This summer the Isle of Man introduced different-sex civil partnerships and over 70,000 people have signed our petition asking the British government to do the same. We’re simply asking that more people are given a choice over how their relationship is expressed – something a lot of people can get behind. As more and more people support the cause, the demand will be harder to ignore.”

Currently in Britain all couples can marry but only different-sex couples can get a civil partnership. Amongst the European nations that have introduced same-sex marriage, Britain is unique in still reserving one form of union to one type of couple. The Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign is calling for that anomaly to end. The campaign argues that many couples would like the legal protection of marriage but don’t feel the ceremony or institution is right for them.

The campaign is backed by organisations such as The Equality Network, Progressive Women, and Humanist Society Scotland, by campaigners including Owen Jones, Peter Tatchell, and Ellie Mae O’Hagan, and politicians including Green Party Co-Leader and MP Caroline Lucas, the Women’s Equality Party, Tim Loughton MP, and Alistair Carmichael MP.

September 9, 2016

Our response to release of 2015 Civil Partnership statistics

On Thursday 8th September, the Office of National Statistics released data on the number of civil partnerships that were registered in 2015. It showed that there were 861 civil partnerships in 2015 compared to 1683 in 2014. This drop came as no surprise however: last year same-sex couples were able to get married for the first time ever.

In response the release of the statistics, we issued this statement:

“That nearly 1000 couples registered for a civil partnership last year shows that there is still a demand for this union, this recognition of a relationship. It is unsurprising that the numbers have fallen now that marriage is rightly open to same-sex couples and that is to be celebrated: it demonstrates that same-sex couples are now able to choose the kind of arrangement that is right for them. That is a right we want to see extended to different-sex couples and our campaign will continue until the choice is available to all.”

August 25, 2016

Pressure builds in Scotland for equal civil partnerships

Following the introduction of civil partnerships for difference sex couples in Scotland we were delighted to receive the support of both the Humanist Society Scotland and the Scotland-based Equality Network. The Humanist Society has approximately 7000 members whilst the Equality Network is one of the leading LGBTIQ campaign organisations in Scotland. Gaining their support helps us to build the case for the introduction of equal civil partnerships across Britain.

Read more about their support here and here.

August 4, 2016

Isle of Man adds to pressure on British government

The major boost to our campaign granted by the decision in the Isle of Man to give different sex couples the right to a civil partnership continues to be felt.

This week the Daily Telegraph published an excellent feature on the Isle of Man’s decision, assessing whether British couples will be able to get a civil partnership on the island and have it recognised in Britain. The fact that they probably will not only adds to the pressure on the British government who will be seen as denying legally obtained rights of different sex couples.

The article states:

“New legislation which has just come into force on the Island [Isle of Man] – a crown dependency separate from but closely tied to the UK – will create new pressure in mainland Britain for straight couples to be allowed to form legally recognised partnerships.

“But it also creates a new legal grey area in other parts of Britain, with uncertainty over how opposite sex couples in civil partnerships under Manx law will be recognised, if at all.”

Our campaign will be continuing to promote the precedence set by the Isle of Man as yet further evidence that Britain needs to catch up and extend civil partnerships to all couples.

 

July 29, 2016

Equal Civil Partnerships launches fundraising campaign

We’ve reached a moment of real opportunity for the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign. We have a new prime minister and Minister for Equalities in place. We’ve employed a new campaign manager. Charles and Rebecca’s court case is coming up this November. And the Isle of Man has just introduced civil partnerships for different sex couples.

We need to seize this opportunity.

That’s why we’ve launched our first ever major campaign fundraising drive. Thanks to the generous donations of members of the public the legal case has already been funded but now we need your support to help us run our political campaign. Because, even if the court decides in our favour this November, we will need the support of politicians to ensure that the law gets changed.

Your donations will help us run our campaign, produce materials designed to convince MPs of our cause, and pay for the drafting of the legislation we want to introduce.

Please head to our fundraising page and give what you can.

July 21, 2016

Welcome to our new campaign manager!

We want to give a warm welcome to our new campaign manager Matt Hawkins who has joined the team here at Equal Civil Partnerships.

Matt Hawkins new Campaign Manager

Matt Hawkins new Campaign Manager

Matt will be helping us over the coming months as we ramp up our parliamentary campaign, engage more MPs, increase the publicity of our campaign, and prepare for Charles and Rebecca’s court case in November.

Matt has previously worked for a number of campaigns including Gingerbread, Carers Trust, and Climate Week. He will be working part-time with us, working for a campaign to ban nuclear weapons during the other half of his week. In his spare time Matt enjoys playing piano and looking after his two rebellious house rabbits.

If you want to contact Matt you can do so on hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk

July 21, 2016

Equal Civil Partnerships for different-sex couples become law in the Isle of Man

Different sex couples who have lived on the Isle of Man for two weeks or more will now be able to get a civil partnership.

The extension of this right to different sex couples was passed by the Isle of Man parliament in April this year and officially became law this week.

It now means that the British government, by denying civil partnerships to different-sex couples, becomes increasingly isolated in Western Europe. France, Portugal, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and many more countries already allow both same-sex and different-sex couples to get civil unions.

The Isle of Man parliament was clearly very proud of the leadership the island is showing. Chief Minister Alan Bell said:

“Recognition of marriage for same-sex couples in Manx law is a truly historic moment, showing just how far the Island has travelled over the past 30 years.

“It sends out a clear message that the Isle of Man today is a modern, open and inclusive society where equal rights are respected. I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance reflected in this legislation are shared by the overwhelming majority of our population.”

The Equal Civil Partnerships campaign hopes to take the enthusiasm and energy shown in the Isle of Man for this cause and translate it into action in the rest of Britain.

June 11, 2016

Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld get a date for their appeal

The challenge against the ban on opposite-sex couples’ access to civil partnerships will be heard in the Court of Appeal on 2nd and 3rd November 2016. Please put the date in your diaries!

You may recall that the High Court judgment earlier this year said that the ban was lawful. However, the same judge also said that that many people would regard the situation as unfair and that, as the case “raises issues of wider public importance,” it deserves scrutiny by a higher court so the fight for equal civil partnerships continues.

You can continue to support this case by contributing to our legal fund here. Our costs are now more manageable thanks to all your support, as well as the commitment of our legal team. However, we still need to raise another £2,000 to cover our costs up to and including the appeal hearing, so please give whatever you can.

You can also come together with with thousands of others who wish to see civil partnerships available to all by joining the campaign here, by liking our Facebook page here and by following us on Twitter here with the hashtags #equalcivilpartnerships and #equallove. That way you will be the first to hear our news and updates.

Thank you for your on-going support and encouragement.

May 16, 2016

Are you equal to this job?

The Campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships is recruiting a new part-time campaign manager. We would very much like to hear from you if you think you have the right skills and experience and a commitment to our cause. Please read on…..

Position: Part-time campaign manager for the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign

Organisation: The Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign

Terms: Initial six-week period from June 2016 (possibly longer)

Location: Working from home or flexibly

Pay: £20 per hour for 20-hour week (on a days worked basis)= £400 per week

The campaign

Did you know that opposite-sex couples in the UK are not currently allowed to be in a civil partnership? The campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships was established a year ago to address this obvious inequality.

At its centre is the case of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, a London couple who are at the appeal stage in a judicial review challenge to the UK Government over the issue in the High Court. The next court hearing is expected this summer.

A highly effective part-time campaign manager, Ava Lee, has been leading this campaign for the last year, working to a steering group*. Ava now has a full time job elsewhere so we are looking for a suitable replacement to continue the process of:

  • Influencing parliamentarians and ministers to secure a change in UK law
  • Building public support for equal civil partnerships via social and print media
  • Exploiting campaigning opportunities presented by the legal challenge

The job

We now have a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to continue our campaigning work inside and outside parliament. The priority in the next few months will be to lobby MPs, peers and ministers, seek opportunities to amend government legislation and deepen our work to build a parliamentary majority. The job might be suitable for someone who wants to work part-time and flexibly. The successful candidate will:

  • Identify and engage influential decision makers, including MPs, civil servants, policy makers and members of civil society and seek opportunities for legislative change
  • Build on existing relationships with influential journalists and forge new relationships to reach bigger audiences and broaden the campaign’s supporter base
  • Research, write, distribute and monitor press releases, announcements and developments relevant to civil partnership and marriage equality
  • Work closely with the steering group, though much of the work will be unsupervised
  • Manage the website and social media including Facebook, Twitter as well as assist with copy for the 70,000 strong petition on Change.org
  • Deal with calls, emails, admin, correspondence and media enquiries as well as organising steering group meetings, and taking minutes
  • Update, engage and grow the supporter base, and create opportunities to amplify the campaign through targeted supporter actions
  • Report back to JRRT on progress of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign against agreed objectives and assist with future fund raising strategy

A series of achievable KPIs will be set to bring focus to the tasks.

 The person

  • Should have empathy with the aims and aspirations of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign
  • Be self-motivated with proven ability to run social campaigns and related projects.
  • Be motivated and able to effect change with limited resources and support
  • Have some experience of most, or all, of the following; campaigning, not for profit organisations, the law, politics, parliament, current affairs and human rights

This is an ideal opportunity for a committed and energetic person to make a mark in the world of politics, law and campaigning and help change British law.

Apply in confidence by 31 May 2016 to equalcivilpartnerships@gmail.com, enclosing a brief CV and stating in 250 words examples of activity you would organise to help encourage MPs to support our campaign.

*STEERING GROUP MEMBERSHIP

  • Charles Keidan, Acting Editor, Alliance Philanthropy magazine
  • Martin Loat, CEO, Propeller PR
  • Fiona Millar, Education Campaigner and Journalist
  • Gemma Mortensen, Chief Global Officer of Change.org
  • Elsie Owusu, Architect
  • Dr Rebecca Steinfeld, Political Scientist and BBC New Generation Thinker
  • Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
  • Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London