BY SIMON CALDWELL
GOVERNMENT proposals to give gay couples the same rights and privileges as those enjoyed by married heterosexuals has been given a cautious welcome by the leader of a group for Catholic homosexuals.
Dr Timothy Potts, the chairman of Quest, said that the proposals drawn up by the Women and Equality Unit, headed by gay activist Angela Mason, might help to eradicate some obvious injustices against gay men and women.
But he admitted that some proposals, which involved property, tax and pension rights, were very controversial and would require careful scrutiny.
He said: "For instance it seems that one of the worst things has been that when one partner has died, the other partner cannot register the death because they are not next of kin. That seems patently unjust.
"On the other hand, if you are going to say that homosexual partners should have the equivalent of widows' pension rights then what are you going to say to about unmarried heterosexual couples?"
Sociologist Patricia Morgan said the proposals formed part of a campaign to "get rid of marriage". She said: "It is coming out of the Department of Trade and Industry. Angela Mason has been put there by [Industry Secretary) Patricia Hewitt, who is adamantly antimarriage and anti-two-parent family. I think it has been quite clearly laid out. You get rid of any benefits like Married Couples Allowance, change the language to words like 'partners' so people aren't aware of it, and then distribute whatever is left to people in other lifestyles so you have gutted marriage of any significance."