Orders of the Day — Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:21 pm on 12th October 2004.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Shadow Secretary of State for International Development 2:21 pm, 12th October 2004

Because the proposed partnerships are a recognition of loving couples in stable relationships, not an endorsement of incest—something that I am sure the hon. Gentleman would not want to see in any legislation. I shall address those points when I discuss the amendments made in another place.

Concern is frequently expressed that civil partnerships will undermine the family. Let us consider those arguments. Today's families come in many shapes and sizes and people face many challenges. Marriages break up, parents remarry and the structure of the family changes. Many families no longer fit perfectly into the traditional two-parents-and-2.4-children framework, but are extended families in which there has been remarriage and same-sex relationships. The latter are increasingly acknowledged and accepted, even by grandparents, who 25 years ago would have found such relationships abhorrent. No one suggests that the absence of traditional arrangements within those new family units has led to the absence of bonds of loyalty, commitment and support that hold families together. Despite the difficulties of modern life, those values have shown a reassuring durability.