Article Title:Britain unveils civil union bill
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:2nd April 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2275
Text:While New Zealand faces a barrage of protest from fundamentalist Christians and social conservatives before its Civil Union bill is even unveiled, the only criticisms being levelled at Britain's Civil Partnership bill is that it doesn't go far enough. Gay advocacy group Stonewall hailed the bill as “21st century legislation” and a “hugely symbolic step towards recognition of long-term gay partnerships” but expressed disappointment at inequities in the legislation which would still see heterosexual couples advantaged in the area of pensions. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat Party are disappointed that Britain's civil partnerships will not be open to defacto heterosexual couples, as is being proposed with New Zealand's Civil Union bill. "While we welcome this bill as far as it goes since Labour are implementing one of our manifesto commitments, it very disappointing that the Government has created new inequalities by not allowing opposite sex unmarried couples to benefit from civil partnerships as happens in many other European countries such as France and Holland,” said the Party's spokesman on equality, Dr Evan Harris. The contrasting reactions in Britain and New Zealand to the announcement of civil union legislation casts serious doubt on the image of New Zealand as a liberal paradise, with images of United Future MP Gordon Copeland publicly invoking the help of God himself this week to defeat the Civil Union bill placing New Zealand closer to US-style politics.    
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