When the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act passed in 2013 the issue of whether straight people should be allowed to enter into a civil partnership was quietly left to one side.
Given that civil partnerships were brought in by Tony Blair’s government in part to avoid having to call gay marriage “marriage”, it is understandable that many felt straight couples would have no need for the newfangled contract.
Yet this week Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will dispute the government’s ban on straight civil partnerships in the Royal Courts of Justice, arguing that the discrimination breaches their rights to family life.
Despite winning a majority in the Commons off a campaign that focused on the economy and his opponent’s inability to win a bacon sarnie, prime minister David Cameron has lost little time in interpreting his victory as a chance to form the most right-wing government since Margaret Thatcher of milk-snatching fame left the premiership in 1990.
Aside from telling Theresa “Jackboot” May to enact the Snoopers’ Charter and bringing Michael Gove back in from the cold as the human rights abolition secretary, DVD Dave has also appointed Caroline Dinenage as equalities minister.
Those of you unfamiliar with Dinenage’s previous work should know she voted against the legalising of gay marriage back in 2013. Other highlights include a long record of slashing welfare spending for disabled people, and votes in favour of raising VAT, a regressive tax that hits the poor harder than the rich.
All that in mind, it must have been jolly inconvenient for our heroine to wake up on Sunday and find out International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (Idaho) was taken place. Whilst many of these celebratory days are little more than an excuse for various pressure groups to engage in public onanism, they do allow governments to comment on what they have been doing within their field.
So what did Dinenage say?
“I’m proud that the UK has just been named the most progressive country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights for the fifth year running, but far too many LGB&T people around the world continue to experience discrimination. We need to tackle that and to create a fairer society for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Header Image – Idaho in Toronto, Karen Stintz
Composition of the Commons will change as more women stand for winnable seats.