The Christian Institute

News Release

Public strongly supports including siblings in Civil Partnership Bill

Over 80 per cent of the public believe the Civil Partnership Bill should be fairer to ordinary families, according to a new opinion poll. The Bill gives special house-sharing rights to gay couples but to no one else. Poll findings show that 84% of people think if gay couples are to be given these rights then two sisters who share a home long-term should get them too; and 91% think the same for a daughter and a mother who live together long-term.

Tomorrow (Tuesday 9 Nov) the House of Commons will debate whether the Bill should be extended to siblings who live together for 12 years or more. A full-page advert will appear in tomorrow’s Times showing the results of the poll. The advert has been placed by The Christian Institute.

Under the Civil Partnership Bill all the legal rights and privileges of marriage will be extended to homosexual couples who register their partnership. The house-sharing rights that are proposed for homosexual couples will include exemption from inheritance tax. The poll shows that almost one in ten (8%) people know someone who had to sell the family home in order to pay an inheritance tax bill. This will include many siblings who live together. But under the Bill, they will have no opportunity to gain exemption from inheritance tax.

The poll shows that 86% of Labour voters think two sisters who live together long-term should be included in the Bill; 91% of Liberal Democrat voters and 79% of Conservative voters agree. This shows there is strong support across the political spectrum for making the Bill fairer to ordinary families.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said, “These poll results shows there is strong public support for making the Civil Partnership Bill fairer to ordinary family relationships. People of different political allegiances all agree that if homosexual couples are to be given house-sharing rights then family members who share a home should have them too. Why should two elderly sisters who have lived together for 20 years have fewer rights than a homosexual couple? If one of the sisters died, the other could be forced to sell the house to pay an inheritance tax bill. The Bill creates more injustice, not less. It enshrines blatant discrimination against family members. It must be changed to be fairer to ordinary families.”

Note for Editors:

The opinion poll was carried out by CommunicateResearch. They interviewed a random sample of 1011 UK adults by telephone 22nd – 24th October 2004.