Orders of the Day — Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:38 pm on 12th October 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry Shadow Minister (Children, Young People and Families), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 5:38 pm, 12th October 2004

I agree entirely. That sort of anomaly is not just unfair but absolutely barbaric. People who have committed themselves to one another over many years in an established loving relationship should not be denied the opportunity to be involved in such fundamental decisions. I simply cannot understand why those rights that I as a married man take entirely for granted, as does every married person, should not be extended to same-sex couples who have demonstrated the same degree of commitment and endorsed it by entering into a legally binding arrangement.

To correct that position is not, as some have suggested, to give extra rights to same-sex couples; it is simply to give them the same rights as heterosexual married couples who have made the same legally binding commitments to one another. Particularly powerful to me is one of the phrases that has been uttered by the Minister today, which was also used by Lord Alli in the House of Lords debate:

"Same-sex couples . . . are . . . invisible in the eyes of the law". —[Official Report, House of Lords, 12 May 2004; Vol. 661, c. GC121.]

That is not right, it is not how the law should work and it is an issue that we should address.

The whole House is concerned that many people have become disengaged from politics and from Parliament. One of the reasons that has happened to such an extent is that people see Parliament as too remote—they see it as a place that does not understand and is not interested in how they live their lives, and is too often involved in legislation that harms their interests as individual citizens.