We went to Parliament Square this morning for the passing into law of Equal Civil Partnerships (the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registrations etc) bill — or now, act — to give it its full name).
It has taken a long time, but different-sex couples can now have a civil partnership if they want to. Or will be able to, later this year or early next, once all the paperwork has been processed.
It’s not the biggest issue in the world — it wasn’t even the most important thing happening in Parliament Square this morning (those kids were noisy, and rightly so) — but it means a lot to us. Those of us who have problems with traditional marriage. Which just means that it isn’t right for us; it’s up to everyone else what’s right for them.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who took the case to the court, and ultimately the Supreme Court, were there, as was Tim Loughton, the Liberal Democrat MP whose private members bill it was. The government supported it, which is why it was able to get through; but of course they had to do something once the Supreme Court had told them that the existing situation was unlawful.
The stupid thing is that all the time and money and stress could have been saved if civil partnerships had included mixed-sex couples in the first place. I was sure I’d had this thought back when they were introduced for same-sex couples. I thought I had written about it here. Not much, it turns out. There was a post expressing disappointment with a setback at the Supreme Court before the final decision.
But there was this post about Tony Blair’s legacy, where I said in an aside, “though why not for het couples?”
I took a few pictures. Did you know there’s a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Parliament Square? I didn’t. Seems rather strange, but why not, I suppose.
After a week of Brexit insanity and a on a day of horror in New Zealand, it’s good to have some positive news.
So the Supreme Court agreed that parliament is sovereign Good for them. Must’ve been a hard decision. I decided it was time to ask my MP, Diane Abbott, to do the right thing:
Dear Ms Abbott,
Now that the Supreme Court has made its decision, affirming parliament’s sovereignty, I strongly urge you to vote against triggering Article 50.
The most urgent issue facing our country at the moment is Brexit, and the only solution to Brexit is to stop it happening. As a Labour Party member, and one who voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader twice, I’m very disappointed by the recent reports that he is planning to require MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50.
I know it would be unpopular with certain tabloid papers if parliament were to prevent Brexit. But in truth I think it would be popular in the country. It seems highly likely to me that if there were a second referendum now, the majority would vote in favour of staying in the EU.
That may be wishful thinking, but I don’t believe so: people have both realised they were lied to, and seen something of what Brexit will mean to the economy, to jobs, and to British society.
And in any case, parliament is sovereign, and the majority in the referendum was far too small to justify what is, in effect, a constitutional change. Surely an MP’s duty is to vote in the way that is best for the country, and it is clear that leaving the EU would not be in the UK’s best interests.
I urge you to resist the tyranny of the right-wing press, and go with the majority of Hackney North and Stoke Newington voters, and please: vote against triggering Article 50.
That ought to do it, eh?