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On the debate surrounding legislation for same-sex couples - Essay Example

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The research will argue that same-sex couples in civil partnership are not given exactly the same rights as married couples, and that the law would need to straighten these discrepancies before considering the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples. …
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On the debate surrounding legislation for same-sex couples
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Download file to see previous pages From the research it can be comprehended that a same-sex partner residing with his/her partner is considered to be a cohabitee. Such an arrangement causes the person to have no rights invested in the property and the risk of homelessness is very real should separation occur. Cohabitants possess no statutory rights to occupation; such rights are only claimable through the use of equitable principles such as trusts or proprietary estoppels. The court indeed has shown a desire to rule in a manner that prevents injustice, though this is a far cry from the positive rights that are granted to married couples. The courts have indeed expressed a need as well as a desire for Parliament to reform the law in cases such as Hammond v Mitchell and Stack v Dowden. Many ask why, if the law is prepared to assign the same rights to same-sex couples and married couples, it does not simply allow the former to enjoy the institutions of marriage. The same need for reform is evident in the law in relation to children. While the Children Act 1989 defines parental responsibility in a gender-neutral manner, it is most often the case that the mother of a child born out of wedlock is given automatic parental rights. How does this fare when applied to same-sex couples who are parents? It is clearly recognised that “the legal definition of families has changed over time”. This is evident in, as has been stated, the change in social attitudes towards the institution of marriage, the birth of children out of wedlock, and the rights of unmarried couples. The law, although it has greatly moved forward in relation to heterosexual partnerships, has been reluctant to codify any such similar approach to same-sex couples. The courts have attempted as far as is possible to interpret the law in a manner that allows unmarried couples (heterosexual and same-sex) to be granted the same, or similar rights to married couples. In other decisions, the court has clearly expressed a desire for legislation which gives them the freedom to positively grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, recognising that this needs an extension of the law of civil marriage to same-sex couples. In the case of Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association (2000), the House of Lords recognised that the definition of family has increasingly become a legal concept. While the couple in the case were not married, the court could not class them as family, yet it expressed a need to reform the law to allow ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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