Poll: What should become of Civil Partnerships in the future?
They should be kept, and extended to all couples. (10)
71.43%
They should be kept and not changed (2)
14.29%
There should be no new civil partnerships, but existing ones allowed to remain (1)
7.14%
They should be abolished, and civil partnerships converted to marriages (0)
0%
Something else... (What?) (1)
7.14%
mmmpie
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#1
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For the last few months the government has been holding a consultation on the future of civil partnerships, and there are about two weeks left until it closes.

I think that civil partnership should be retained, and be available as an option to mixed-sex couples as well as to same-sex couples. There are quite a few reasons for this.

Some couples may be unable to marry within their religion, whether because they are same-sex, one of them is divorced, they are from different religions, or whatever reason. But they may also be very reluctant to marry outside of their religion, so civil partnership which offers the legal protection without the religious connotation might have great appeal there.

Some LGBT people might prefer civil partnership to marriage, for any number of reasons. Having spent the last decade going around telling everyone that civil partnership is equal and that people should embrace it and make it their own, it seems very unreasonable to now take the option away from anyone that has done just that. This is particularly important when we consider that there are many people already in civil partnerships, not all of whom want to convert their civil partnership to a marriage. But some people also view civil partnership as a part of LGBT culture, and even if in a mixed-sex relationship some LGBT people might prefer a civil partnership for that reason. There is also the "feminist objection" to marriage, which obviously doesn't apply to civil partnerships.

So, opinions?
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RandZul'Zorander
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I'm inclined to agree with you. I can see why it would be suitable for many people mostly for the reasons you provided. I think the only argument against it would be a more libertarian argument against government regulation/vindication/privileging of personal relationships.
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mmmpie
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(Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
I'm inclined to agree with you. I can see why it would be suitable for many people mostly for the reasons you provided. I think the only argument against it would be a more libertarian argument against government regulation/vindication/privileging of personal relationships.
But that argument would also apply to marriage. If we accept that we can recognise increasingly diverse relationships, as the introduction of civil partnership and various liberalisations of marriage have done over the last century, then shouldn't we at least entertain the idea that we ought to do so in diverse ways?
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RandZul'Zorander
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(Original post by mmmpie)
But that argument would also apply to marriage. If we accept that we can recognise increasingly diverse relationships, as the introduction of civil partnership and various liberalisations of marriage have done over the last century, then shouldn't we at least entertain the idea that we ought to do so in diverse ways?
It would also apply to marriage. I have seen plenty put forward that argument. And while people accept that we can recognize certain relationships, I think plenty would say that we shouldn't.

If we accept that we should or we accept that we are not going to eliminate the recognition of certain relationships I would definitely say that we ought recognize them in diverse ways as there are many diverse forms of relationships.
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mmmpie
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(Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
It would also apply to marriage. I have seen plenty put forward that argument. And while people accept that we can recognize certain relationships, I think plenty would say that we shouldn't.

If we accept that we should or we accept that we are not going to eliminate the recognition of certain relationships I would definitely say that we ought recognize them in diverse ways as there are many diverse forms of relationships.
In an ideal world we might develop a law of "social contracts", which might also subsume parts of the law around parental rights and attorney powers. Then marriage and civil partnership would just be standardised contracts of that kind, in the same way that we have standard terms and conditions for the sale of goods or for certain kinds of employment, but people would be free to negotiate whatever suited them.
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RandZul'Zorander
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(Original post by mmmpie)
In an ideal world we might develop a law of "social contracts", which might also subsume parts of the law around parental rights and attorney powers. Then marriage and civil partnership would just be standardised contracts of that kind, in the same way that we have standard terms and conditions for the sale of goods or for certain kinds of employment, but people would be free to negotiate whatever suited them.
That seems to be what I've seen many of the people who are against institutional marriage put forward. On some level I agree but then on some level I don't...I just can't quite articulate why...
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NYU℠
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Well, same-sex marriage is still not legally equal to opposite-sex marriage. Opposite-sex married couples get to get divorced for various sexual reasons (non-consumation or infidelity); same-sex couples do not. The joys of 'equality'. :roll eyes:

However, given the feminist objections to marriage (and others), it seems beneficial to keep both institutions.
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mmmpie
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(Original post by NYU2012)
Well, same-sex marriage is still not legally equal to opposite-sex marriage. Opposite-sex married couples get to get divorced for various sexual reasons (non-consumation or infidelity); same-sex couples do not. The joys of 'equality'. :roll eyes:

However, given the feminist objections to marriage (and others), it seems beneficial to keep both institutions.
I know more people who were aghast to discover that marriages are still voidable for non-consummation and what the exact definition of adultery is, than were concerned that those wouldn't apply to same-sex couples. I'm not sure we've lost out on that front.
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(Original post by mmmpie)
I know more people who were aghast to discover that marriages are still voidable for non-consummation and what the exact definition of adultery is, than were concerned that those wouldn't apply to same-sex couples. I'm not sure we've lost out on that front.
Idk, if someone wants a divorce because of infidelity, I don't see why they should be denied such. The same with non-consummation. If someone decides they don't want to be married to someone with whom they are not having sex, then personal autonomy and individual decision should be respected.
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mmmpie
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(Original post by NYU2012)
Idk, if someone wants a divorce because of infidelity, I don't see why they should be denied such. The same with non-consummation. If someone decides they don't want to be married to someone with whom they are not having sex, then personal autonomy and individual decision should be respected.
But the vast majority of divorces for infidelity go down as either unreasonable behaviour or desertion, not as adultery because adultery can be difficult to prove. It was mentioned several times in the same-sex marriage debate last year. Annulment for non-consummation is similarly unusual, for the same reason. I've even seen it suggested that in the majority of non-consummation cases both spouses lie, but it's a way to end the marriage with no-fault.

I have no problem with the idea that people should be able to end marriages for reasons like infidelity. I just don't like that marriage automatically regulates people's sexual behaviour. Things should be determined to be reasonable or unreasonable in the context of that particular relationship, not on a blanket rule.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by mmmpie)
I have no problem with the idea that people should be able to end marriages for reasons like infidelity. I just don't like that marriage automatically regulates people's sexual behaviour. Things should be determined to be reasonable or unreasonable in the context of that particular relationship, not on a blanket rule.
The rule isn't blanket in that sense though - you're marriage doesn't become null simply because you've engaged in extramarital sex. It only becomes null when you or your spouse apply for it to become null.

For instance, suppose a couple engages in an open relationship where they have sexual contact with others. Their marriage would not automatically be dissolved because they did this; if they were happy to so do, then the law would not intervene.

The law would intervene only when one of the couple applies for divorce - I don't see any practical problems with allowing infidelity in marriage/divorce law then?
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mmmpie
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(Original post by NYU2012)
The rule isn't blanket in that sense though - you're marriage doesn't become null simply because you've engaged in extramarital sex. It only becomes null when you or your spouse apply for it to become null.

For instance, suppose a couple engages in an open relationship where they have sexual contact with others. Their marriage would not automatically be dissolved because they did this; if they were happy to so do, then the law would not intervene.

The law would intervene only when one of the couple applies for divorce - I don't see any practical problems with allowing infidelity in marriage/divorce law then?
This is possibly just me getting very antsy about the law saying anything too specific about people' sexual behaviour. Makes me uncomfortable.

But one reason for my own personal preference for civil partnership is that it lacks many of the implied norms that go along with marriage, or at least they are not so strong. I think that things like fidelity are something that should be negotiated between each couple, and that formalising your relationship whether by marriage or civil partnership represents an undertaking both to abide by whatever you both agree to and to attempt to work through issues if that fails. It's easier to make a civil partnership your own in that sense, because it doesn't come with so many millennia of cultural baggage.
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