It’s time for equal civil partnerships to be made available

Civil Partnerships should be an option for all couples in Scotland, say Humanist Society, not just same-sex couples.

Humanist Society Scotland was proud to play a major role in the campaign for equal marriage in Scotland. We maintained then, and repeat now, that part of that journey to equality would be to allow mixed-sex couples access to civil partnerships if they choose.

HSS responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation in December 2015, in which it said that introducing mixed-sex civil partnerships ‘would be an opportunity missed to strengthen the Scottish Government’s commitment to equality by giving greater freedom to couples, regardless of sex or gender, to celebrate their relationship in a personalised way of their choice.’

The Humanist Society asked its network of Registered Humanist Celebrants if they had had any requests from mixed-sex couples to take part in a civil partnership.

“She and her partner didn’t want to have the perceived ties of marriage but would have liked the advantages and ‘protection’ which a civil partnership would have provided.” ­ HSS Registered Celebrant*

“Since I was authorised in April 2009, I have married 2 mixed­-sex couples who told me they’d have preferred to have entered civil partnerships. There may be other couples who don’t want to marry but, knowing they cannot enter civil partnerships, haven’t made themselves known to us, so it’s hard to
assess possible demand.” ­ HSS Registered Celebrant*

Ross Wright, centre

Ross Wright, centre

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s position, HSS Registered Celebrant, Ross Wright, said:

“Civil partnerships were introduced as a stop-gap measure, short of full equality and for this reason many people are keen to see this scrapped.

“We are very sympathetic to this, however many mixed-­sex couples who are in a second, or subsequent relationship, do not wish to get married for various reasons and civil partnerships give such couples a route to legal protection, and security.

“Earlier this year I was approached by a mixed-sex couple who were looking to get a civil partnership, however had to get married instead as that wasn’t an option for them. There may be many more, but we just don’t know.”


Notes: For further information or comment please contact Gary McLelland on gary@humanism.scot or 07813060713.

* Details withheld by HSS – for privacy reasons.

You can view the HSS original response of December 2015 here: https://www.humanism.scot/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/HSSResponsetoScottishGovernmentreviewofCivilPartnerships.pdf

HSS Celebrant Ross Wright had the honour of conducting of the first same-sex marriages in Scotland: https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/news/well-done-joe-and-malx/

About HSS:
Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.

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