Campaigners: Government's promised review on civil partnerships for straight couples is a 'spoling tactic'

Three Tory MPs are pushing for civil unions to be an option for heterosexual, as well as gay, couples

Campaigners who say that heterosexuals should have the same rights as gays to enter into civil partnerships accused the Government of introducing a ‘spoiling tactic’ to try to block or delay the reform.

The Culture, Media and Sports department announced a “thorough review” this evening that would consider the future of civil partnerships, which only gay men and lesbians can legally enter into, under present law.

Three Tory MPs - Tim Loughton, Charlotte Leslie and Rob Wilson - are pushing for civil partnerships to be an option for heterosexual couples.

In a letter to fellow MPs, they argue: “This is not necessarily a ‘niche’ consideration. No fewer than 2,893,000 opposite sex couples in the UK are living together but are not married, many with children. If they are prepared to make the commitment and particularly provide a more stable environment for their children then surely they deserve parity of esteem with same sex couples who want a formal partnership without marriage.”

The three are predicting “widespread support” for their amendment. An aide to Mr Loughton, a former schools minister, dismissed the promised review, saying: “It’s a spoiling tactic by the Government.”

But the veteran gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, said that the Government has already consulted and found that 61 per cent of those asked supported allowing heterosexuals to enter into civil partnerships.

“The Government should do the right thing and accept the amendment tabled by Tim Loughton and others, because it has majority public support,” he said.

Gay marriage has already caused the biggest backbench rebellion that David Cameron has faced in his eight years as Conservative leader, with more than 130 Tories voting against the legislation. The scale of the opposition has made ministers reluctant to push ahead with changes to the law governing civil partnerships.

A spokesman for the Culture department said last night: “Civil partnerships were created for a very specific reason - to give same-sex couples access to legal rights at a time when society was not ready to give them access to marriage. 

“Now that the time is right to extend marriage to same sex couples, it is also right that we should consider the future of civil partnerships.  There are strong views on both sides of this debate, and we have listened to those views.  A proper review will allow us to look at the issues in a considered and thorough way, giving full consideration to the implications of any changes.”

The Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “The Equal Marriage Bill is about extending marriage to same-sex couples.  Questions have been raised about whether we should also extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.  There are strong views on both sides of this debate, and we have listened to those views.  We are therefore offering the House the opportunity to have a review of this area, rather than legislating now without the required evidence.“

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£70 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Learning Support Assistants n...

Teachers required for Cambridge Primary positions Jan 2015

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in Cambridge...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain