Married couple win first round in ‘civil partnerships’ dispute

A married couple have won the first round in a tribunal action against employers who categorised their marital status with civil partnerships.

Lucille and Frank McQuade complained after Strathclyde Police began recording employees’ marital status as ‘married/civil partnership’, rather than identifying married status separately.

The McQuades, who are Roman Catholics, were both employed by the force. They say their employer’s decision to record their marital status as ‘married/civil partnership’ represented religious discrimination and sex discrimination.

Mrs McQuade said: “The concept of homosexuality is not compatible with our faith”, adding: “We find it offensive that people don’t know if we are married or civil partners.”

The Civil Partnership Act came in to force in Scotland in 2005, following ministerial assurances that the new partnerships would not be equated with marriage.

Strathclyde Police referred to guidance from ACAS that advised against forcing employees to reveal their sexual orientation by identifying themselves as part of a civil partnership.

But the tribunal said the ACAS advice was only “guidance” and ruled that the case could go ahead. No date has yet been set for a further hearing.