Call for civil partnerships for siblings

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A peer has called for siblings and carers to be included in a review of civil partnerships, during the debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, on 10 July 2013.

Crossbench peer Baroness Deech called for the government to "extend the hand of equality and the glimmer of hope of support" to siblings who had lived together for many years and to carers.

"We now have a chance to recognise and assist them through the study the government is already committed to carrying out," she said, during the report stage debate.

She said the justification for discrimination that existed against people living together in a "co-dependent, supportive and loving arrangement" had gone.

Civil partnership status offers the same rights as married couples in areas such as inheritance, pension provision, life assurance, child maintenance, next of kin and immigration rights.

The bill proposes that couples who are the same sex can get married. Changes will not be forced on religious organisations who will have to "opt in" to holding ceremonies.

Labour's Lord Alli opposed the idea, and said that giving civil partnerships for family members was the same as "giving access to marriage to a brother and a sister, a father and son, a mother and daughter".

For the government, Lord Wallace of Tankerness told peers: "What is being proposed is a fundamental change, something that is very different from civil partnerships as they were established and as they have developed."

Peers put the amendment to a vote and the amendment was defeated by 267 votes to 89, a majority of 178.

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