Saturday, 17 September 2011

Civil Partnerships

There's much debate going on down south about whether or not same-sex couples can be married. To all intents and purposes, civil partnerships are, but legally they aren't. Yes, I know, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

But, that's not what I am going to talk about. No, it's the heterosexual couples who want to enter into a civil partnership. So, let me get this straight, they want to have all the legal rights which come with marriage (mainly to do with inheritance tax in the UK) but they don't want to be married. Am I missing something? Anything? Is it just me, but why not get married?

It strikes me these couples want the privileges of marriage without the responsibility which comes with it. It's an overused phrase, but with great privilege come great responsibility. Or are they just making a point, I wonder?

It's not like it has to be a religious ceremony or a fancy do to be married. That's what registry weddings are for. Maybe the one difference, as far as I can tell (other than the obvious) between weddings and civil partnerships is the later can be conducted in private.

As a former marriage cynic, I wonder if these people haven't got the right person? There was a year, yes just one year, between me thinking marriage was just a piece of paper and why can't people just live together if they want to, to actually being married. Yes, I am a born again marriage evangelist. Well, not really, but you get the picture. Funny how quickly that changed with spotthegerbil. He is the perfect person for me and being married to him is as natural as breathing (usually, I don;t want him getting funny ideas!). Maybe I, too, would have been a civil partnerships for heterosexual couples person once?

Marriage is a declaration of a couple's love, loyalty and commitment to one another. End of. If you can't sign up for that, don't cop out and try to make a point. It just makes you look like a numpty IMHO. God doesn't even have to get a look in (officially, but he'll be around somewhere!), nor do you have to spend a fortune and invite everyone of your facebook friends!

If you want to live together, do that. That's fine. But accept the privilege and responsibility which comes with it too.


  1. I personally see two key reasons for a heterosexual civil partnership:

    1. For some people secular marriage is like decaf tea or fish eating vegetarianism, if you really want something without the history or associations of marriage why not go the whole way.
    2. Solidarity. If your GBL friends can not get married then neither shall you. And so making them equal.

  2. I'm a heterosexual person in a committed relationship, seeking to enter a civil partnership as soon as they become legal. I'm happy to explain this.

    In a nutshell, I'm an atheist and a feminist, so I wouldn't feel comfortable getting married. It's true that it's possible to have a registry wedding, but the institution of marriage still comes with a lot of unwanted cultural and religious baggage. British people still associate marriage with essentially Christian ideas, and terms such as "wife" are loaded with gender bias. On the other hand, my partner and I are very keen to make a permanent, strong commitment to each other, to assume responsibility for each other, and to have these things publicly and legally recognised.

    For more information, see

  3. Interesting thoughts guys, and things I hadn't thought about. I understand there is a lot of marriage baggage and, well, I am. I am a believer that the only way to change an institution is from the inside. Personally, I don't think civil partnerships should exist at all - for homo- or hetero-sexual couples. If they want to make a public declaration it should be marriage. Only once the stereo types of marriage are torn apart and broken down will the baggage be removed.


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