Civil partnerships for all backed by majority

civil partnerships

A majority of British people now support the extension of civil patrnerships to all couples regardless of gender, new polling suggests.

Polling firm Populus surveyed a representative sample of 2,000 British adults aged over 18. A full 57 per cent – or three in five – agreed with the statement that the government should “allow all couples the right to get a civil partnership”.

By contrast, a mere 20 per cent backed the option once seen as inevitable by by most legal commenters: ‘remove civil partnerships altogether’. Meanwhile 24 per cent said they had no view on the matter.

The campaign was conducted on behalf of the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign, which, as the name suggests, believes heterosexual couples should be able to civil partnerships as well as homosexual ones. MPs from all major parties have expressed support for the campaign, along with the human rights group Liberty.

Campaign Manager Matt Hawkins said:

“This survey adds to the mound of evidence demonstrating that giving every couple the option of getting a civil partnership would be the popular and fair thing to do. Over 76,000 people have already signed a petition calling on the government to extend civil partnerships, MPs from all parties support our cause, and countries such as France, Sweden, and New Zealand and regions of the British Isles like the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, and Isle of Man have already shown that mixed-sex civil partnerships are easy to introduce and warmly welcomed.”

Read more here.

Image by KatieThebeau via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

Lymphad - April 24, 2017 at 10:29pm

But, why? Civil partnerships for heterosexual couples are virtually indistinguishable from marriage. They are therefore redundant. Civil partnership ceremonies usually include something like “I declare that I know not of any legal reason why we may not register as partners in law. I understand that on signing this document we will be forming a civil partnership with each other.” Civil weddings “I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I [name] may not be joined in matrimony to [name]” and “I call upon these persons here present, to witness that I [name] do take thee [name] to be my lawful wedded wife / wife-husband / husband.”

It all makes one feel rather old-fashioned, until you realise that public, officially-celebrated marriage is historically the effort of society (expressed through the Church) to regularise, or hijack, a whole bunch of “irregular” forms of relationship that were in essence civil contracts ranging from prostitution via concubinage to full marriage, for the sake of public order and making sure that children were supported and not bastardised – vide the long survival in Scotland (until 1948) of marriage by declaration de praesenti, by promisse subsequente copula, and by habit and repute .

Maybe the truly conservative position is to allow matrimonial unions in bare contractual form for all under the title of “life partnerships” or some such, and to let couples, celebrants and religious institutions including the Established churches do the bells and whistles in whatever form, and for whomever, they will.

There! I have shocked my conservative and rather disappointed soul, but maybe opened a way forward for those, like me, distressed by the seeming fluidity of our developing modern approach.

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