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Tatchell claims same sex marriage legislation will leave heterosexuals with fewer rights

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has claimed that forthcoming gay marriage legislation will leave heterosexual couples with fewer rights than gay ones.

The Australian-born activist said: “Opposite-sex couples are legally prohibited from having a civil partnership and David Cameron intends to keep it that way. This will mean gay couples will soon have legal privileges over heterosexual couples.”

He added: “There will be two forms of official state recognition for lesbian and gay couples: the present system of civil partnerships and the new system of civil marriages. Heterosexual couples will have only one option: marriage. They will be subjected to legal inequality and discrimination. This is very wrong. I support straight equality.”

Australian MP Bob Such recently proposed a universal right to civil partnerships in South Australia.

Tatchell’s comments followed news that the government is due to unveil its much discussed legislation permitting gay marriage next week. As expected, religious institutions which object to same sex unions will be able to opt out of such ceremonies.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m a massive supporter of marriage and I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution. But let me be absolutely 100 per cent clear, if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn’t want to have a gay marriage, it will not, absolutely must not, be forced to hold it. That is absolutely clear in the legislation. Also let me make clear, this is a free vote for members of parliament but personally I will be supporting it.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. DT says:

    Yet another sterling contributing to your ever increasing bank of excellent gay marriage / civil partnership articles Marilyn.
    I agree with Peter Tatchell – it’s about equality, uniformity and a level playing field; not a multi-tiered system. Every couple (same or opposite sex) should be offered the same legal union option(s).
    We seem to be adding more and more layers when I think we actually need to stop and think about what we can offer both gay and straight couples so that there’s consistency, regardless of sex and sexuality.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Welcome back DT
      Many thanks. Do you tweet? I’m @marilynstowe surprise surprise.
      Sameach Chanukah to you and your family

  2. David Shepherd says:

    1. Currently, Clause 2 of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill has been declared by the EHRC to contradict the Article 9 rights of religious organisations. It will have to be amended to prevent interference with the freedom of religious organisations.
    2. A Stated Aim of the Bill: ‘to protect religious organisations and *individuals* from being forced to conduct same sex marriages’
    3. An amendment to Clause 2 (as suggested during EHRC testimony before the Public Bill Committee) will leave conscientiously objecting ministers who belong to ‘opt-in’ religions exposed to coercive religious sanctions for non-compliance, thereby defeating one Stated Aim of the Bill.
    4. A Stated Aim of the Bill would be compromised, leaving individual ministers exposed to sanctions, if the religion opts into same-sex marriage.

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