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Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual & Transgender Conference 2005
18 November 2005

Conference celebrates the fact that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 will be brought into force on 5th December 2005. For the first time same-sex couples will be able to make a formal, legal commitment to each other.

Conference, however, takes note of some Local Authorities who, whilst willing to carry out registrar/registry office ceremonies for opposite-sex couples, do not extend the same privilege to same-sex couples, and have already stated that same-sex couples will not be able to have a ceremony when they register their partnership.

Conference believes that this decision is discriminatory and goes against the ethos of providing legislation that is supportive of same-sex relationships. Furthermore, Conference believes that this decision sends a clear message to same-sex couples who live within the Local Authority area that they are not valued members of the local community.

Conference notes that many Local Authorities are delaying full implementation on the basis of awaiting further advice from the Government.

Conference calls attention to the need:

1.To carefully monitor the impact of the introduction of Civil Partnerships, including any repercussions for the workplace and community safety issues;

·2.To monitor the impact on benefit claimants as a result of the introduction of Civil Partnerships;

·3.For all Local Authorities and the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure all of their staff have LGBT awareness training, clear guidelines and ensure they carefully consider the needs of Civil Partners (especially regarding the venues available and the need to address the community safety needs of LGBT communities).

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

A.Gather information from Regional Groups and from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members on which Local Authorities in the United Kingdom have made the decision to disallow same-sex ceremonies;

B.Lobby the decision makers in these Local Authorities informing them that their decision is discriminatory and should be reversed;

C.Lobby the Government to ensure that clear advice is issued urgently to all Local Authorities stipulating privileges offered to opposite-sex couples be extended to same-sex couples; and,

D.Monitor and publicise discrimination faced by same-sex couples when they go to celebrate their civil partnership.

Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee to incorporate these issues into its work programme, raising these issues through the TUC LGBT Committee and the Local Government Service Group asking members of branch and regional groups to monitor developments in their local areas.

Conference uses the opportunity of its first meeting in Northern Ireland, to highlight the decision by Lisburn Council to ban Lesbians and Gay men from holding civil partnership ceremonies on county property, pledges full support of the national union structures for the endeavours of our Northern Ireland LGBT group and supports the Northern Ireland LGBT group in its campaign to end this discrimination and pledges to bring pressure to bear through appropriate channels to ensure Government/public reflects the statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity.