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Orders of the Day — Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 12th October 2004.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham 4:40 pm, 12th October 2004

It is a pleasure and privilege to follow Ann McKechin. Since she entered this House, and probably for a substantial period before her election, she has been an articulate champion of sexual equality. Today, she once again made a compelling speech of which she can be proud.

I strongly support the original form of the Bill, which was introduced to help lesbian and gay couples, and it should be official Conservative party policy to do so. The essential issue is discrimination, which takes the form of the non-existence of gay couples in law. Such discrimination is best tackled—indeed, I would argue may only be tackled—by the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. The Bill is not about encouraging homosexuality, but it is about recognising homosexuality; it is not about giving special rights, but it is about affording equal treatment; it is not about undermining marriage, but it is about promoting stable relationships; and it is not about political correctness, but it is about personal decency.