Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Erika Baker (MB 19)

Submission with regard to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13

Summary

It is important to ensure that the legal standing of children in same sex families is the same as that of any other child.

Argument

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put forward my main concern about marriage equality.

I have two children from a previous marriage. I am now civil partnered and my partner and I are bringing up my two children. She has grown up children who have at various times found a home with us during personal crises and her 5 grandchildren are frequent visitors to our house.

What I have learned more than anything is that life for children in same sex relationships is comparatively more stressful than life for children in straight households but also more stressful than life for children from broken homes and those brought up by lone parents.

Children want nothing more than to fit in, to be the same as their peers. And having same sex parents is still a very new thing for society. It will not be long until it becomes normal and much more accepted. And the law has its own special role to play here.

In order to help our children and grandchildren, and those of the other 8000+ same sex parents in this country, I would urge you to ensure that the legal situation of our children is exactly like that for any other child.

That includes in particular that if they are born into a same sex household by whatever means  or adopted by one, both their parents are considered in law as their true parents with equal parenting rights. Should those parents split up or should one of them die, there must be absolutely no question that the remaining parent has full parental rights exactly on the same footing that would apply to children in a conventional marriage.

Civil Partnerships, which are in law almost equal to marriage, have confirmed again that "equal but different" never works but that it always means "different".

I urge you to ensure that the concept of full equality also applies to our children and that their legal standing will not be "equal but different".

February 2013

Prepared 15th February 2013