Humanists urged to respond to Civil Partnership Bill

Humanist Society Scotland has submitted it’s response to the Scottish Parliament’s Equality and Human Rights Committee on the Civil Partnership Bill.

This proposed bill will make mixed-sex civil partnerships legal in Scotland – something the charity has been campaigning for many years. Now members and supporters of Humanist Society Scotland are being encouraged to share their views with the Scottish Parliament too. Anyone can add their input via the Parliaments engage system simply by clicking here.

Commenting on the moves to a new Civil Partnership system, Humanist Society Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Sutherland said,

Fraser Sutherland

“We know many members and supporters of Humanist Society Scotland who wish to mark their mixed-sex relationship with a civil partnership. It has been frustrating for us as a Humanist community that we have not been able to meet these wishes as we felt the current legal status limiting Civil Partnsehips to same-sex couples is unfair. We were delighted when the Supreme Court ruled last year that refusing mixed-sex couples the right to access a civil partnership was illegal. We look forward to celebrating with many couples when the first mixed-sex Civil Partnerships are a legal reality in Scotland.”

In it’s written response the charity have laid out their reasons for supporting opening up mixed-sex civil partnerships:

The Society have been calling for this change for a number of years right back to the 2014 act where same-sex marriage and belief marriage was introduced. We have made this case for two major reasons.

Firstly we have members and supporters in a mixed-sex relationship who would like to access a civil partnership and who have approached us to carry out such a ceremony for them in line with their Humanist beliefs.

Secondly – on a point of equality – we believe that it is important to ensure that there is no discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics in the marriage and civil partnership landscape. This was a major reason why the Society was a key member of the campaign in favour of legislation to allow same-sex marriage. By the same reasoning, we believe it is wrong to limit civil partnerships to same-sex couples as is currently the law and support this bills intention to make it available to mixed-sex couples.

We share the concerns made by Stonewall Scotland, in their response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, on the future of civil partnerships that closing civil partnerships to new entrants. They have outlined how this would impact negatively on same-sex couples currently with a civil partnership and the potential pressure placed upon them to change their relationship legally to a marriage.

Instead the approach taken to extend the choice of civil partnerships and level up the legal offer to both same-sex and mixed-sex couples is the correct approach.

The full details of the Scottish Parliament’s consideration of the Bill can be accessed here.

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