Please have a look at the latest Newsletter.
Civil Partnerships Up and Running!!!
Many lesbian and gay couples throughout Berkshire visited their local Register Office on Monday, 5th December to declare their intention to register their Civil Partnerships. And that included Elton John and David Furnish - Elton's "Royal" Ceremony
Reading Pride - Saturday, September 2nd
Come and see us at our stand, and say hello in person. We might even persuade you to join!
More information at www.readingpride.co.uk
On Monday 5 September, As part of Reading Pride, Positive Response, a local AIDS charity will be showing the Spanish film Bear Cub. The screening will be at the Vue cinema, The Oracle, Reading For One Night Only - Monday 5 September at 8.30 - Doors open 8.00 Ticket Price: £8.00 from the Hexagon Box Office, Tel: 0118 960 6060 or direct from Positive Response at the door on the night. More information on Positive Response's web site.
Spain approves gay marriages
The lower house of parliament in Spain has voted in favour of allowing gay couples to marry and adopt children. Read more on the BBC website.
Civil Partnerships in the UK
Latest - Civil Partnerships before Christmas 2005
From the announcement on Monday, February 2005 from the Women and Equality Unit.
"The landmark Civil Partnership Act will be brought into force on 5 December this year. Any couple wishing to form style="font-size: smaller;" a civil partnership will be able to give notice of their intention to register at a Register Office from that date."
"This will allow the first civil partnerships to be formed in time for Christmas on 21 December, after the 15 day waiting period has passed. Some Register Offices in areas such as Brighton, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and the London Borough of Camden have already started to take expressions of interest from couples interested in forming a civil partnership after the Act comes into force. "
"The Civil Partnership Act allows same-sex couples to make a formal, legal commitment to each other by forming a civil partnership. At present, same-sex couples have no way of gaining formal legal recognition for their relationship and as a result suffer a range of problems in their everyday lives. "
"Important rights and responsibilities will flow from entering a civil partnership, helping same-sex couples to organise their lives together."
"Provisions in the Act include:
- employment and pension benefits;
- recognition under intestacy rules;
- access to fatal accidents compensation;
- recognition for immigration and nationality purposes.
- a duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partner and any children of the family;
- civil partners to be assessed in the same way as spouses for child support;
- equitable treatment for the purposes of life assurance."
Jenny Ward, then Chair of the Forum's Steering Committee said:
"Gay men and lesbians finally have the right to legally be recognised as partners. This is an event which I never could have dreamed of even 10 years ago. However laws can be changed but hearts and minds will take longer - there will still be a need for campaigning and a need for organisations like Berkshire Older Lesbian and Gay Forum where older gay men and lesbians can feel supported, comfortable and welcomed."
Together with members of beYOU (Berkshire's Lesbian and Gay Information Network), members of the forum's steering committee are hoping to be able to meet with representatives of Berkshire Superintendent Registrars to ascertain what arrangements are being made in Berkshire.
Further information about civil partnership is available on the government's Women and Equality Unit (WEU) website.
The full text of the legislation is at: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/20040033.htm
Civil Partnerships legislation
In her speech to kick off the new session of parliament, on 26 November 2003 the Queen announced the government proposal for the introduction of the civil registration scheme for same-sex partners. Her Majesty said
"My Government will maintain its commitment to increased equality and social justice by bringing forward legislation on the registration of civil partnerships between same sex couples."
The response to the government's consultation which was produced by the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association is a very informative summary of the key issues. The document can be obtained from http://www.lagla.org.uk/files/lagla_civil_partnership_response.pdf.
You can also look at the Forum's response to the consultation document.