Comment: Why we will not be converting our civil partnership to marriage

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Gaby Charing, 70, and Liz Day, 64, registered their civil partnership on 21 December 2005. They feel strongly about not wanting to convert to marriage and writing for PinkNews, Gaby explains why.

Liz and I have been together for 30 very happy years. We have always wanted to marry, and we were part of the campaign for marriage that led eventually to civil partnership. Everyone we knew at that time (friends, neighbours, people in the local shop) spoke of us as getting married, and we regard ourselves as married in all but name.

Our civil partnership has given us all the legal rights we need. We wouldn’t gain any more rights by converting it into a marriage.

We’d have loved to be able to marry in 2005, but we understood why that wasn’t possible, because of the attitude of the Church of England. The Church of England has certain rights under English marriage law and it wouldn’t agree to same-sex marriage. The government in 2005 was wise to accept that. It introduced civil partnership instead, which is marriage under another name.

Since 2005 nothing has changed. The Church of England hasn’t budged. Until it does, we shan’t have equal marriage for anyone.

What we have now is definitely not equal marriage. Quite the contrary. The law says that a man and woman who are Anglicans can require the Church of England to marry them. But this new law says the opposite about same-sex couples: the Church of England is actually forbidden to marry us. Even if you don’t want to marry in church (and we don’t), that isn’t equality. In fact what this law does is enshrine our inequality in law. It’s the worst thing since Section 28. We want nothing to do with it.

One day the Church of England will come to its senses. It will agree to marry all couples on the same terms. When it does, we really shall have equal marriage for all, and Liz and I will be the first to get married. Until then, we’re happy as we are.