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to not understand why anyone would want a civil partnership?

(390 Posts)

I've been wondering this because of all the media coverage of the equal marriage bill. Civil partnerships were brought in as a sop to gay people who wanted to get married - hopefully soon they will be able to marry just as straight couples can. And I agree that everyone should be treated equally so if civil partnerships remain for gay couples then straight couples should be allowed to have them as well.

But wouldn't it make more sense to do away with civil partnerships altogether? I don't understand why someone would choose a CP over marriage - as I understand it it's the same commitment but with fewer legal rights. Can someone explain this please?

flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:18:03

I'm happy to be a wife - I'm female and married and that is the word used.

thing1andthing2 Mon 20-May-13 12:18:49

I like the way it is in France. Any two people can go and get PACSed. This stands for pact civile de solidarite (or something like that). It can be for gay or straight couples, or even for two elderly sisters who live together in a house and don't want to pay death duties on the house after the death of one of them. It allows a range of legal, tax and inheritance benefits. It is dissolvable by going down to the Mairie and signing some forms.
They have just passed a law allowing gay marriage now, so finally everyone can have both options.
I'd like to see civil partnerships open to any two people whatever their relationships.

Solari Mon 20-May-13 12:20:14

I'd like to clarify that I am totally in favour of legal provision for those who don't want marriage.

I got married myself, but admittedly didn't think much beyond the pair-bonding/legal aspects of it.

I'm actually quite disturbed by the idea that there is something more insidious behind it (because I am just starting to grow my own feminist roots).

Historically, especially considering the lines used, I can completely agree that it was seen as an ownership deal. I'd like to think that modern marriage can be divorced from that. Otherwise, I'd be feeling pretty crap about backing an institution that was intrinsically misogynistic.

scarletcrossbones Mon 20-May-13 12:22:03

check out a registry office wedding Scarlet - doesn't seem to involve any ownership words on the woman.

OK, flanbase, but that's not really the point I'm making. That still doesn't make me want to get married, y'know?

unlucky83 Mon 20-May-13 12:24:31

I won't get married cos of the connotations that go with it as detailed above...
But I would like to sign a legal agreement with DP (of 18ish years) - if I could have a civil partnership I would...things like pension rights and inheritance tax....etc
To give you the same rights as some people think you have as a 'common law wife' etc...
As it is we have carefully worded wills...and each own a percentage of the two houses we own...just makes everything a bit more complicated! Will need to think about getting married in future I think - for pension in future as a SAHM...(or if they brought back a married couple tax allowance)
I think we should be pushing for Civil partnerships to be available for all - that heterosexual couple can't have one is discriminatory ...
I can't understand the fuss about equal marriage ...though maybe cos wouldn't want a marriage in the first place...

RealityQuake Mon 20-May-13 12:25:42

Ignoring thousands of years of history doesn't make it clean, it's even enshrined on the certificates (felt like a kick in the gut at the time that my father's name had to be on there, he should have nowt to do with the day and certainly not more than my mother).

CrystalQueen Mon 20-May-13 12:27:45

We got married in a civil ceremony. I don't feel that I entered into a terrible misogynistic religious institution.

flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:28:15

Did you have your fathers surname?

flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:29:10

Did you take your husbands name?

Solari Mon 20-May-13 12:29:49

I don't think modifying marriage would be ignoring the history though... more like acknowledging it and correcting current behaviour.

I guess for me its a question over whether the core practice itself is misogynistic (which I am realising can't be the case, as people essentially want to retain this under a different name), or whether the trappings of it were misogynistic as a product of the time, and can be removed.

Solari Mon 20-May-13 12:30:34

I had my father's surname, didn't take my DHs.

ivykaty44 Mon 20-May-13 12:32:09
RealityQuake Mon 20-May-13 12:32:51

flan - My partner and I created our own (I got rid of my father's when I turned 18).

flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:33:42

Solaris - I see you stand by what you are saying.

flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:34:39

Reality - what a great idea.

mrsravelstein Mon 20-May-13 12:34:40

i got married in a registry office. (twice, actually). nothing about obeying. nothing about ownership. nothing about 'giving away'. no words about anything other than the legal process. no requirement to take my husband's name, although i did because i like it more than my own. no requirement to swap rings.

I had a civil wedding. There was no "Who gives this woman" bollocks, there was no religion, no readings, no hymns, it was DH and I choosing to publicly and legally commit ourselves to each other. Just the same as a CP.

I'm happy to call myself his wife and he's happy to call himself my husband. If we weren't we'd use different words. The relationship is the same whether you're a wife, a partner or a oojamaflip. The word is irrelevant, just as with the word marriage.

As for the misogyny accusation yes, that's historically been part of marriage. It's also been part of government (women not being able to vote or be MPs etc) but I don't see anyone refusing to vote because of it.

I don't mind whether we get rid of marriage or get rid of CPs but it seems stupid to have 2 things that are basically the same institution but with different words.

I do like the sound of the PACS in France though, with its provision for siblings etc. That might be worth considering.

Solari Mon 20-May-13 12:40:50

flanbase I think we do agree, unless you believe that the actual core practice of marriage as a joining of two people is misogynistic? (in which case wouldn't the same act under a different name be just as bad?)

I totally agree with you that over the years it has had misogynistic trappings, and has been used as a tool in a misogynistic way. I also completely believe that no one should be denied the legal benefits of marriage if they want to be joined without marriage (and regardless of sex).

I guess I'm thinking of marriage the way I grew up thinking of it, which is as a mutual bonding and promise-making. To me, that is what it essentially is, and all the other practices decorating it (father handing over, lines etc), stem from a misogynistic era and should be done away with.

scarletcrossbones Mon 20-May-13 12:42:52

I don't think there's anything wrong per se with choosing a common surname as a result of a marriage or partnership. It shouldn't necessarily be a bad, anti-feminist thing to relinquish your own; it would just be nice if it got to the stage where half the time, the man took the woman's name, rather than the current default.

Again, it should all be about choice, please! grin

flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:47:30

solaris - I think that now we have the chance to have our say and also remember the past. I got married with none of the obeying & giving away idea and have an equal marriage with my dh. In the past it was very different for women. I took his name as I wanted to do this and to have that choice meant that I could decide on what to do. It should be equal rights for everyone

Solari Mon 20-May-13 12:55:50

^
I totally agree with this. Just in case there's been a misunderstanding somewhere.

StuntGirl Mon 20-May-13 12:58:13

I was always quite into the idea of my future partner and I making up a new surname entirely should we ever marry as a solution to all the name/identity issues.

However, my partner is known by his surname. It's become more than his name, it's his identity. And I have no more right to demand he changes his name and loses part of that identity than he does to demand I drop my surname. So, I feel even more conflicted than ever on that. Good job we're not getting married/CP'd grin

Mandy2003 Mon 20-May-13 13:01:05

I would. I have been married once and am now totally marriage-phobic. The legal protection that would come with a CP would be invaluable IMO.

Mandy to you, what's the difference between a CP and marriage apart from the name?

OctopusWrangler Mon 20-May-13 13:03:56

The French have many things right. Separation of church and state, PACS and opt-out organ donation register. And croissants with coffee the consistency of cement in a morning.

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