Same-sex couples now have legal advantage
“David Cameron has betrayed the principle of equality by refusing to allow opposite-sex couples to have a civil partnership. His government is maintaining legal discrimination against straight partners. In a democracy, we should all be equal before the law,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
He was commenting on today’s announcement by the government about the future of civil partnerships, made by Equalities Minister, Sajid Javid.
“Same-sex couples now have a legal advantage over straight couples. They have two options: civil marriage and civil partnership. In contrast, opposite-sex couples have only one option: marriage. This is unjust and unfair.
“I am delighted that same-sex couples in civil partnerships will be able to convert them into marriages. But why the long delay until December this year? This is nine months after the first same-sex marriages and 18 months after the legislation was agreed by parliament.
“The government’s decision to retain civil partnerships is welcome. Not everyone wants to get married, given that marriage has a long sexist and homophobic history. It is right that all couples should have a choice.
“Some LGBT and straight people would prefer a civil partnership; believing it to be more equal and without the negative past history of matrimony. They should have the choice of a civil partnership if they wish. Marriage should not be the only option. Couples should not be forced to marry to get legal recognition and rights. They should have the alternative option of a civil partnership,” he added.
“The UK should adopt the popular Dutch system of opening up civil partnerships to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. A majority of Dutch civil partnerships are now between heterosexual men and women. The same is likely to happen if UK civil partnerships were made available to couples of the opposite-sex. Based on the experience in the Netherlands, around 10-15% of British male-female couples would seek a civil partnership if it was available,” noted Mr Tatchell.