Recognition of Civil Partnerships – An International Issue, A Human Rights Issue

Back to all Motions

2010 National LGBT Conference
20 November 2010

Conference notes that the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was both a milestone piece of equality legislation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people and since its introduction has brought to thousands of LGBT couples who have formed a civil partnership, both legal and public recognition of their relationships.

Conference also welcomes the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 part of which will bring the opportunity for willing religions to be able to offer civil partnerships in religious buildings.

UNISON is also committed to campaigning for the introduction of marriage for same sex couples both within the United Kingdom and internationally, recognising that despite the benefits of forming a civil partnership, the many differences between a civil partnership and a marriage are still both a barrier and a weapon to full equality for LGBT people. Similar is not the same as equal.

Conference is also appalled that a civil partnership formed in the United Kingdom is not legally recognised outside of the United Kingdom, including Europe and the Commonwealth of which we are both members. Similarly a civil partnership formed outside of the United Kingdom is not recognised within the United Kingdom and this is not compatible or acceptable in a modern world of fluent and global workforce where one or both partners in a relationship may relocate to and from a different country.

Furthermore the introduction of civil partnerships or equivalent legal recognition sends out a powerful message within and outside of a country that LGBT people and their relationships are visible and valued citizens.

In the modern world of a fluent and global workforce and community this is not acceptable.

Therefore Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

1.Continue to campaign for gender neutral marriage and civil partnerships as well as for the recognition in the UK of same sex marriages and opposite sex civil unions/partnerships contracted abroad and to enable couples to remain in marriages or civil partnerships where one partner when seeks gender recognition;

2.Campaign and lobby utilising its partnership with ILGA and our own Labour Link structures, MP’s, MEP’s and LGBT Labour for international recognition of civil partnerships and same sex marriages;

3.Campaign and lobby utilising its partnership with ILGA and our own Labour Link, for the legal recognition of same sex relationships ie. marriage or a civil partnership in all European states.