Thursday 1 February 2018

Bid for equality, to end the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships

From Equal Civil Partnerships
This Friday morning MPs will debate Tim Loughton’s private member’s Bill to end the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships. Currently, civil partnerships are available only to same-sex couples.
The Bill is titled: Civil Partnerships, Marriages & Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill. 
Following recent ministerial changes, the government has gone back on its commitment to support reform. It now wants more time to deliberate. Nevertheless, it estimated that a majority of MPs back equality. 
A petition calling for equal civil partnerships has over 80,000 signatures. 

View and sign the petition HERE

Find out more about the Equal Civil Partnerships (ECP) campaign:

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, is backing the Bill; having championed equal civil partnerships since they were first proposed in 2003 for same-sex couples only. He said: 
It’s time for ‘straight’ equality. It cannot be right that same-sex couples now have two options, civil partnership and civil marriage, whereas opposite-sex partners have only one option, marriage. 
In 2016, the Isle of Man became the first part of the British Isles to open up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. If the Isle of Man can have civil partnership equality why not the UK?
The government’s public consultation in 2012, involving over 200,000 submissions, found that 61% of respondents supported allowing opposite-sex couples to have a civil partnership. Only 24% opposed. 
In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law, with the same rights and responsibilities. It is outrageous that for 14 years successive governments have been unwilling to legislate equality.
The founders and lead opposite-sex couple in the Equal Civil Partnerships (ECP) campaign are Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld. 
Charles Keidan explained: 
Currently, more than three million unmarried couples in the UK cohabit. That’s an average of over 4,500 couples per parliamentary constituency. Two million children in the UK have parents living together as unmarried couples. 
Over 80,000 individuals have signed our petition in support of equal civil partnerships. The vast majority of those polled are in favour of the extension of civil partnerships, according to Populus. 
Same-sex civil partnerships remain popular in the LGBT community. The number formed in England and Wales rose from 861 in 2015 to 891 in 2016, an increase of 3.4%, according to the Office of National Statistics. There is every reason to believe they would appeal to a sizeable number of different-sex couples if they were legalised.  
Rebecca Steinfeld added:
The current situation is self-evidently unfair. Civil partnerships promote stable families and protect children. They should be available to everyone. There is no such thing as common law marriage. This leaves unmarried couples and their children vulnerable. 
Couples choose not to marry for many reasons: its history, cost and past bad experiences. The State’s responsibility is to protect children, not judge their parents: children should not be placed at risk, just because their parents don’t marry. 
The number of same-sex couples opting for civil partnerships increased last year, despite the introduction of same-sex marriage. This shows that the demand for civil partnerships is not going away and it is likely that many different-sex couples would like this option. There is cross-party support for equal civil partnership legislation.

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