UK: Cameron could veto straight civil partnerships over ‘sanctity of marriage’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are reportedly split on the issue of opening civil partnerships to all couples.

According to the Sunday Times, Cameron could veto plans to open up civil partnerships to all couples in England and Wales, as he believes it will undermine the ‘sanctity of marriage’.

During discussion of the same-sex marriage bill last year, initial proposals to open up civil partnerships to straight couples were removed in favour of a public consultation into their future, which could see them opened up or abolished.

The consultation closed earlier this month, but the Times claims that the government is still divided on the issue.

The paper reports that Clegg and the Liberal Democrats favour opening up civil partnerships to all couples, following the model in New Zealand and the Netherlands, where couples can choose between a partnership or a marriage.

However, Cameron could reportedly veto the proposals, which he fears would ‘undermine the sanctity of marriage’ and alienate Tory voters.

A government source said that the two parties were at a ‘stalemate’ over the issue, saying: “Cameron sees it as undermining marriage and the [Conservative] party’s objection is largely driven by fear of a rebellion.”

Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has repeatedly called for all couples to have the choice of a civil partnership, writing: “to deny opposite-sex couples the right to have a civil partnership is discrimination and discrimination is wrong”.

Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon and chairman of Christians in Parliament, told the Times: “The horse has bolted on this. What’s the point [of extending civil partnerships] when we could leave well alone and move on? Let’s talk about something that will win the election.”