I’m very pleased that the first day of the Green Party conference in Finchley today adopted a new policy supporting the availability of civil partnership and marriage to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.
Much of the focus is bound to be on the provision for gay marriage, but I’m also pleased about the other side of this – the provision for civil partnership to be available to heterosexual couples.
Marriage is something that many women (and men) have objections to: they feel that they don’t want to be involved in an institution that historically has been so implicated in the oppression of women. Yet I know a significant number of women who have reluctantly married for practical reasons – relating to the status of their partner with regard to their children, to inheritance tax, to pension rights… the list goes on.
A civil partnership deals with these issues, without being a “marriage”. There are two possible structures here, and sexuality shouldn’t be the discriminating factor in who can access each.