Report on civil partnership

Part of Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:12 pm on 26th October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison Conservative, Copeland 12:12 pm, 26th October 2018

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Chris Philp. This Bill affects an emotive area of public policy that deserves a great deal of attention. I commend my hon. Friend Tim Loughton for bringing it before the House, and of course all those who have worked so hard to bring it to this stage.

The momentous decision taken by the Supreme Court in June this year represents a changing point in how we treat civil partnerships. The review that will be conducted following the passage of this Bill will mean a profound change in how our society treats the concept of marriage and partnership. Following the case, the Government stated that they were considering the Supreme Court decision carefully. The Prime Minister has said that, given the sensitive and personal issues involved in the case, no legislative changes would be taken until the consultation on the future of civil partnerships had been completed. I agree with such an approach as it represents an air of pragmatism with which the Prime Minister has worked throughout this issue.

I fully commend the amendments made in Committee regarding the report on civil partnerships. It is crucial that we ensure that this debate is not lost to the revolving cycle of 24-hour news and social media. Committing the Secretary of State to preparing, consulting and presenting a report on civil partnerships will surely avoid this. We must accept that some people in this country have fundamental disagreements with religion and religious convention. Therefore, some will see a review that supports equal access to civil partnerships as a natural step towards a more secular society. Some go even further and believe that marriage represents a time of patriarchy and a social religious structure that fundamentally discriminates against women. I disagree. Although I fully support the equalisation of civil partnerships, I believe that the concept of marriage should still be cherished. For many families, marriage is the foundation on which the home is built, and we should never lose sight of that. We also should not forget the integral role a two-parent household plays in raising children.

Perhaps I should note that I am slightly biased, as Mr Harrison and I have enjoyed 20 years of wonderful marriage. Indeed, they have been the happiest years of his life—[Laughter.]