Oxford Union approves equal rights for gay partners

May 19, 2004

Home of the Oxford Union Society
OXFORD, England — In step with changing times, the Oxford Union Society will give gay and lesbian partners of members the same rights as heterosexual spouses, its president said Tuesday.

The rule change will mean that if a gay or lesbian member of the union forms a gay civil partnership, the partner will also be eligible for life membership in the venerable debating society, Georgina Costa said.

The measures will come into effect when the Civil Partnerships Bill comes into force, probably next year.

Until now, only husbands or wives of heterosexual members of the union have been eligible.

Costa said the change was passed unanimously last week by the union's standing committee. "I'm pleased there was no opposition to it," she said.

The Civil Partnerships Bill, which is expected to receive the assent of Queen Elizabeth II – largely a formality – later this year, would give gay and lesbian couples who agree a civil partnership the same pension and other rights as married couples for the first time. – Sapa-AP

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