Civil Partnership Bill to go before Keys later this month

THE Civil Partnership Bill has been held over until March 23, the House of Keys was told.

The bill would enable same-sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship through a civil partnership, and remove restrictions so they could adopt.

The bill passed its first reading – where it can not be debated – in the court last week and was listed for its second reading in the Keys today (Tuesaday).

But Speaker Steve Rodan told MHKs that the Bill would not be moved until

a presentation has been made to Tynwald members.

It is understood that the second reading will now be debated on March 23.

Peter Murcott, a former Isle of Man law lecturer and Methodist preacher, has written to MHKs warning them that the bill's proposals were at odds with the values of a 'Christian island'.

The bill was welcomed by John Wright, convener of lesbian and gay support group Carrey Friend, which provides web-based support and information as well as counselling.

He said it was time that gay people's rights in the Island were recognised through legislation.

In addition, UK gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called for MHKs to scrap the bill saying that it still represented discrimination against gay people.

Instead, he called for a new bill which would introduce civil marriage instead.

Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK is tabling the bill, as his department oversees the General Registry.

He said the Isle of Man had moved on a 'very long' way since the Sexual Offences Bill which decriminalised homosexuality in 1991 was debated, and he hoped the Civil Partnership Bill would be supported.

The legislation would give legal recognition for same-sex partnerships, and the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in areas such as pension benefits, inheritance and administration of estates.

Both members of the couple must be 16 and if either of them is under 18, consent is required from the appropriate sources.

The principle of the legislation will be debated at today's second reading stage, while its detail will be scrutinised at the clauses stage.


>> Read Bishop Robert Paterson's view on the issue, only in the Isle of Man Examiner - in shops now


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