Recognition of our Families and Partnerships

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2002 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
31 July 2002

Conference welcomes the broadening of the debate on recognition of lesbian and gay partnerships. Conference notes that the Government has set up a team in the Women and Equality Unit to look into the issue of civil partnership registration and its associated rights and responsibilities and welcomes the participation of UNISON members in a survey of lesbian and gay views on this matter.

Conference believes that the Government is starting to realise that lesbians and gay men do enjoy stable and caring relationships and that heterosexuality – while common – is not the norm.

However, Conference is concerned that the Government should not link partnership rights with requirements of registration and cohabitation. Conference notes UNISON members’ responses to the Government’s survey showed that a third of respondents did not live with their partners. This can be for many reasons including, but not limited to, caring responsibilities, children, age, culture and choice.

Conference affirms that cohabitation is not the sole, and in some cases not in reality, evidence of a long term and stable relationship and believes our campaign for recognition of our families and relationships should not be based on the principles or practices of heterosexuality. Conference further affirms that lesbian and gay rights should not be linked with a culture of coupledom.

Conference instructs the National Lesbian and Gay Committee:

1.To continue this debate both within UNISON and with relevant organisations

2.To campaign for partnership rights which are not dependent on cohabitation or registration

3.To campaign for an end to the privileging of heterosexual marriage

4.To continue to campaign for the rights of all lesbians and gay men, whether single or in a partnership.