Friday 18 November 2016

#equalcivilpartnerships petition hand-in

Yesterday was a wonderful day for the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign: We handed in our more than 70,000-strong petition to the Minister for Women and Equalities, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP. 

We were joined outside the Department for Education by supporters from across the political spectrum, including the Rt Hon Tim Loughton MP (Con) and Baronesses Lorely Burt (Lib Dem) and Liz Barker (Lib Dem). With us in spirit was our fabulous constituency MP Andy Slaughter (Lab), who has supported our efforts since the outset. 

There are over 3 million cohabiting couples with 1.9 million dependent children in the UK. These families urgently need access to the legal and financial safety net that civil partnerships can offer. It is simple for the Government to extend civil partnerships to all in order to protect those families - just remove the words limiting civil partnerships to couples "of the same sex" from the Civil Partnership Act 2004. 

We've shown that opening civil partnerships to both same-sex and mixed-sex couples is popular, fair and good for families. 

Now, let's hope the Minister for Women and Equalities lives up to the promise of her office, and does the right and simple thing - opens civil partnerships to all. 

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Upcoming talk at UCL - 'Genital alteration and gender equality: the future of policy' - Wednesday 23rd November

At UCL next week, I will present my research on gender and genital alteration. My talk is entitled 'Genital alteration and gender equality: the future of policy.' It is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies' Gender and Feminism Network's seminar series. 

In the talk, I will critique contrasting global policies toward female and male genital alteration. These policies focus on eliminating female genital mutilation, or FGM, while tolerating or even encouraging male circumcision. 

I will explain that, on the surface, this seems unproblematic: Within global health and human rights circles, FGM is almost universally regarded as a barbaric manifestation of the patriarchal drive to control female sexuality, whereas male circumcision is seen as benign. 

Yet, I will point to the mounting empirical evidence and ethical critique that calls into question these contrasting perceptions and policies.

I will argue that maintaining policies premised on sex-based distinctions seems unsustainable and incompatible with gender equality. Instead, I will suggest that meaningful age-based distinctions between those unable (children) and able (adults) to give informed consent could constitute better policy. 

I will evaluate the merits of permissive and restrictive approaches to female and male genital alteration, assessing the advantages of specific policies. In so doing, I will argue for gender equality in genital alteration policies.

My talk stems from a wonderful collaborative partnership with my brilliant bioethicist friend and colleague, Brian Earp. We spent last summer conducting research at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva on a project entitled 'The Science, Politics, and Ethics of Male Circumcision: An Interdisciplinary Take on an Emerging Global Controversy.'


Event details:

Date: Wednesday 23rd November
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM 
Location: IAS Seminar Room 19, First Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
For more information, see the Institute of Advanced Studies' event page here.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Join us ON THURSDAY at the Department for Education to hand in our petition

Over 71,000 people have signed my partner Charles Keidan's and my petition to open civil partnerships to all. Now it’s time to hand it in to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening MP, to show her that opening civil partnerships to all is popular, fair and good for families. 

Join us this Thursday 17th November at 10:00am outside the Department for Education (20 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT). Our wonderful MP Andy Slaughter will be there, together with reporters from the national press, who would love to speak to you about your own reasons for seeking a civil partnership. 

If you can’t be there, please show your support by tweeting @JustineGreening on Thursday to demand #equalcivilpartnerships 

If possible, please also donate so that we can continue putting pressure on the Government to extend civil partnerships: 

Update on the court case

The Court of Appeal judges clearly recognised the importance of this issue. Sadly, the Government remained intransigent. Now we await judgement. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us outside court – it meant so much to us. Our fearsome, all-female legal team did a stellar job! Thank you to Sarah Hannett, a brilliant rising star of equality law at Matrix Chambers, to Karon Monaghan for her incredible stamina over the two-day hearing, and to our dedicated solicitor Louise Whitfield, of Deighton Pierce Glynn. 

We will let you know the result as soon as we can. 

In the meantime, let’s celebrate the ground we’ve covered: over 71,000 signatures, backing from MPs across the political spectrum, civil partnerships on the Isle of Man, and more than £40,000 raised in crowdfunding. The wind is in our sails… 

Please help us to keep up the pressure. 

Thank you all so much,

Rebecca and Charles

For regular updates, please:
- Like our Facebook page
- Follow us on Twitter @EqualCPs
- Check out our website 

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Tomorrow is our BIG day

No, my partner Charlie and I are not getting married!!!

Instead, this time tomorrow, we’ll be at the Court of Appeal making the case for civil partnerships for all.

We could not have come this far without our wonderful supporters: over 70,000 people have signed our petition! Thanks to their commitment and personal stories of why they want a civil partnership, the press, policymakers and the public now appreciate the importance of this issue. 

They understand that there are over 3 million cohabiting couples with 1.9 million dependent children. They realise that these families urgently need access to the legal and financial safety net that civil partnerships can offer. They recognise how simple it is for the Government to extend civil partnerships to all in order to protect those families. 

We need to repeat that message until the law is changed. If you support our efforts, please help us by doing these things NOW:

1. Join us outside Court tomorrow. Details: 9am, Wednesday 2nd November, The Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand, London WC2A 2LL. 

2. Please donate to our campaign fund so we can continue to push for #equalcivilpartnerships until this change is made:

3. Tweet us and we’ll retweet you! Tweet your reasons for supporting #equalcivilpartnerships and/or wanting a civil partnership yourself to @EqualCPs. We’ll share your tweet with our followers. 

4. Please ask your MP to add their name to an Early Day Motion that was tabled in Parliament yesterday. You can ask your MP to support civil partnerships with just a few clicks via this link: 

Thank you all so much,

Rebecca and Charles