Yesterday was a wonderful day for the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign: We handed in our more than 70,000-strong Change.org 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.