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Civil Unions Campaign rejects Worth's Amendment

Campaign for Civil Unions rejects Richard Worth’s sibling relationship amendment

Richard Worth’s proposed rewrite of the Civil Union Bill is a desperate attempt to undermine civil unions,” said Cameron Law, spokesperson for Campaign for Civil Unions today, reacting to the proposal by Worth to change the Civil Union Bill into a civil relationships registration system.

“Worth’s amendments reflect similar failed wrecking amendments in the recent United Kingdom Civil Partnerships debate. At heart they are simply an attempt to belittle the relationships of same-sex couples by suggesting they are no more significant than friendships.

“Civil Unions are designed to give recognition to loving, committed and intimate relationships between consenting adults, whether they are same-sex or different-sex couples. As drafted, the Civil Union Bill prohibits civil unions between family members, and allows people who are eligible to be married to change their civil union into a marriage if desired.

“Civil partnerships are designed to formalise relationships that do not meet the same criteria. Family members or carers could register such partnerships.

“Government is pursuing Civil Unions to deal with the fact that marriage will remain only available to different-sex couples. To end the discrimination against same-sex couples arising from this, civil unions have to be similar to marriage in the rights, obligations and criteria they require.

“Richard Worth’s proposals are simply designed to wreck the civil unions legislation, which is why they are receiving support from the same MPs who opposed the Civil Union Bill at first and second readings. They would change the intent of the Bill completely, and would require the wholesale rewriting of the companion Relationships (Statutory References) Bill as well.

“Similar tactics to these were used by Conservative members of Britain’s House of Lords in fighting the UK’s recent Civil Partnerships legislation (which was passed by the House of Commons by 389 votes to 47). A handful of the peers moved amendments to extend the new relationship recognition system to a broader range of people.

“These amendments, when proposed in the UK, were coupled with references to homosexuality as ‘unnatural sexual practice’ and lamentations about the ‘hijacking’ of the word gay. This is the sort of underlying homophobia that stands behind attempts to weaken the Civil Union Bill.

“One also has to ask where the mandate or demand for such a proposal is? No party had a registration system such as that Mr Worth is proposing in their manifesto, and there has been no community campaign for such a system. If Richard Worth sincerely believes there is a need for siblings or friends to register their relationships he can propose his own Bill and seek community support. We doubt he would get it.

“I call on the majority of MPs, who support Civil Unions, to vote against Richard Worth’s proposals. All they will do is entrench discrimination in the law, and introduce a civil partnership system for which there is no mandate or public demand,” Cameron Law said.

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