In a nutshell
A vote on extending the ‘civil partnership’ scheme to cover two siblings who had lived together for 12 years or more.
The Civil Partnership Bill extended all the legal rights and privileges of marriage to homosexual couples who register a ‘civil partnership’.1At the Report Stage of the Bill on 9th November 2004, Edward Leigh MP put forward amendments to extend the ‘civil partnership’ scheme to cover two siblings who had lived together for twelve years or more.The first amendment read: ” Two siblings, both of whom are aged over thirty years, shall be eligible to register as civil partners provided that they have lived together for a continuous period of twelve years immediately prior to the date of registration.”2 (‘Two siblings’ meant either a brother and sister, or two brothers or two sisters.) Related amendments created a separate procedure for dissolving civil partnerships between siblings. This procedure was different to (and much simpler than) the ‘divorce-like’ procedure provided for homosexuals under the Bill.
Edward Leigh’s amendments would have remedied many more cases of genuine ‘hardship’ and would have made the Bill less like ‘gay marriage’. The scope of the amendments was much narrower than earlier amendments passed in the House of Lords which extended the Bill to other family members in addition to siblings.
There was one vote on Edward Leigh’s amendments – MPs voted against by 76 votes to 383. Conservative MPs had liberty to vote according to their conscience. It was the policy of the Labour Party to oppose the amendments. Two Labour MPs (Calum MacDonald and Kevin McNamara) voted for the amendments. The Liberal Democrat Party position is unknown – two Liberal Democrat MPs (Alan Beith and Colin Breed) voted for the amendments.
How we recorded the vote
- Voted for extending the Civil Partnership Bill to cover siblings
- Voted against extending the Civil Partnership Bill to cover siblings
- Abstained or was absent on the vote for extending the Civil Partnership Bill to cover siblings