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.“
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...