Govt expected to back ‘marriage-lite’

The UK Government is expected to endorse new plans for heterosexual civil partnerships that would undermine marriage.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton has introduced a Private Members’ Bill to extend the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which currently only applies to homosexual couples.

According to media reports, his Bill is expected to receive support from the Government at its second reading in February and has already been endorsed by Education Secretary Justine Greening.

‘Marriage-lite’

This weekend it was reported that the Scottish National Party’s national council – the body responsible for policy-making – has also backed calls for heterosexual civil partnerships.

Angela Constance, Scotland’s Equalities Minister, told MSPs the Scottish Government will seek to legislate “later in this parliament”.

Reacting to the news, Deputy Director at The Christian Institute Simon Calvert said: “This is yet another fundamental attack on traditional marriage.

“This would give all the benefits of marriage to couples who have not taken on the commitments and responsibilities of the institution of marriage. It’s yet another example of the seemingly neverending intrusion and interference into traditional family life by politicians.”

Costs

Heterosexual civil partnerships involve a much lower level of commitment than marriage and have been described as ‘marriage-lite’.

It is estimated that they would cost between three and four billion pounds in public sector pensions alone.

Loughton’s Bill follows on from a sustained campaign for heterosexual civil partnerships by Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan.

Legal challenge

Steinfield and Keidan mounted a legal challenge to the law claiming that their human rights are being violated because they cannot enter a civil partnership.

Earlier this year judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected their most recent bid to change the law.

Dr Sharon James, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Marriage, welcomed the ruling.

Dr James told Premier Radio: “The gold standard of commitment is marriage; with the declarations made in the presence of witnesses and the expectation of lifelong faithfulness”.

‘Confusing’

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Colin Hart also welcomed the ruling, saying: “If it had gone the other way, it would have been very confusing”.

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