Orders of the Day — Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:42 pm on 12th October 2004.

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Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Constitutional Affairs) (Scotland) 6:42 pm, 12th October 2004

I thank my hon. Friend for her comments. There has been a great deal of activity and campaigning on the issue for genuine reasons, which is why the Government responded as they did. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland was cynical about that, but hoped that at the end of the day we would reconsider our position. I do not think that even he anticipated it would be at the end of this day.

We are looking forward to debating some of the issues further in Committee. I am sorry that I have not been able to address everything raised. At the start of the debate, my right hon. Friend the Minister referred to some of the personal stories of same-sex couples. We heard similar stories throughout the day. The people who will be affected by the Bill are not anonymous. They are ordinary people, going about their everyday lives. They are our friends, members of our families, neighbours and people with whom we pray in church or meet in a supermarket. They are from all airts and pairts of the United Kingdom. Some have shared their lives for decades, awaiting the opportunity to gain recognition for their relationship. In all sincerity, I hope that the House knows that it is now time to offer them dignity, justice and the right to be treated fairly. I commend the Bill to the House.