Who Gets To Use The Term Partner?

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It was good enough for John Wayne - "Howdy Partner".
 

Adeon Writer

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I had assumed it came around as part of the pronoun game to avoid saying Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Husband/Wife to those who were speaking with someone to whom they were not out.

Wouldn’t making it a same sex term sort of take that away?

Not that the pronoun game is a good thing of course. But sometimes it’s necessary to respect a friend’s privacy.

I don’t like using it. I always found the term cold sounding.
 
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Ava Glasgow

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I've heard it applied to straight couples for years. A lot of people don't want to marry the person they live with, and partner works for them.
Less so by U.S. couples, but I've heard it used frequently by the British.
 
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It's sure better than "my significant other". I don't hear that much anymore.
 

WolfEyes

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Troy is my life partner, regardless of our marital status. He is not my boyfriend, we've lived together almost 19 years now. According to C/christians we live in sin, since we are not married, so he is not my husband. Not to mention the fact that you have to be legally married 10 years before your partner can file a claim for a portion of your SS benefits after you pass on. There are legalities involved.

What I'm trying to say is that we are partners in everything, sort of like the old "partners in crime" thing.

No one has the right to dictate to us what term we use to describe our relationship. It's our relationship, not theirs. I'm keeping my partner. Even if he is an asshole, he still has a huge soft spot in his heart when it comes to women and children... dogs and cats... critters in general. ;)
 

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I'll admit that for a long time I associated the use of 'partner' with the queer community simply because my straight friends didn't use it. Recently that has changed both in straight people using 'partner' and gay people using 'spouse' or 'husband'/'wife'.
 
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I've come across the opinion that it should be an lbgtq before, but it's always rang hollow to me. Growing up one of my aunts was never married, instead over the years, she had several male friends whom were invariably referred to as her partners. This mind you, was in the seventies and eighties, so it's hard to take the claim that cis people using the term is a recent phenomenon as serious.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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In British English it's generally used without reference to gender or sexual orientation. That's certainly how I've always used it.

As it happens, the British Supreme Court recently held that it's discriminatory to restrict civil partnerships to same-sex couples (R (on the application of Steinfeld and Keiden) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (in substitution for Secretary of State for Education (Respondent) - The Supreme Court). They were originally introduced as an alternative to marriage for same-sex couples before we made same-sex marriage lawful, so the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 left us in a situation where gay couples can choose between a civil partnership and marriage, while straight couples can't. The decision doesn't change the law but it means the Government have rapidly to decide whether to make civil partnerships available to all or to abolish them.

Gender-neutral civil partnerships are available in several jurisdictions, including several US states: see Where are heterosexual civil partnerships legal? for more details.
 
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WolfEyes

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In British English it's generally used without reference to gender or sexual orientation. That's certainly how I've always used it.

As it happens, the British Supreme Court recently held that it's discriminatory to restrict civil partnerships to same-sex couples (R (on the application of Steinfeld and Keiden) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (in substitution for Secretary of State for Education (Respondent) - The Supreme Court). They were originally introduced as an alternative to marriage for same-sex couples before we made same-sex marriage lawful, so the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 left us in a situation where gay couples can choose between a civil partnership and marriage, while straight couples can't. The decision doesn't change the law but it means the Government have rapidly to decide whether to make civil partnerships available to all or to abolish them.

Gender-neutral civil partnerships are available in several jurisdictions, including several US states: see Where are heterosexual civil partnerships legal? for more details.

So basically, they are legalizing what was once called common law marriage in the US? I wish they would re-instate common law in the States or legalize civil partnerships for heteros. As things are now, I'll be struggling to pay bills if Troy dies before I do.
 

Cristiano

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I think the idea that a term belongs to a group exclusively is silly (the exception obviously being slurs, which groups often take back to take away their power). I understand the nuance of partner for the LQBTQ community, but the term is not being co-opted by straight people. As others have shown, it's been in long use across the spectrum of relationships.
 

Jolene Benoir

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I think anyone can/should be able to use it. It has roots that go well back in time. It certainly is better than significant other and calling your partner your boyfriend/girlfriend past the age of reason just feels a bit off to me.
 

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To me, partner always seemed to indicate a certain level of equality in a relationship, that still doesn't seem to be there for traditional marriage, at least in the uS, even though I'm married to my partner.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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So basically, they are legalizing what was once called common law marriage in the US? I wish they would re-instate common law in the States or legalize civil partnerships for heteros. As things are now, I'll be struggling to pay bills if Troy dies before I do.
It's more complicated than that, I think. Coincidentally, the Supreme Court here recently decided another case, in which they held that a woman who had been living with her partner for several years, and had a young family with him, was entitled to various state bereavement benefits that the government had tried to argue were reserved for the surviving partner in a marriage or civil partnership.

Had it been open to opposite-sex couples to enter civil partnerships, though, I'm not sure how the case would have gone (or, if the government makes civil partnerships available to everyone, what it will do to cases like the one I just described).

At present in the UK, at least as far as I understand it, the general principle is that if a couple are living together as if they were married, then most of the time (though by no means all the time) the law treats them as if they were married. However, if you make civil partnerships available to people but they simply live together without bothering to get married or enter a civil partnership, then how should the law treat them at the end of the relationship (either because it breaks down or because one partner dies)?

There's several possible answers, of course, but I suspect that one reason the British government didn't want to make civil partnerships available to everyone is that so doing would require a great deal of time and attention to legislative detail to achieve without creating great legal uncertainty in the future for people who are in long-term relationships but don't regularise them in any way.
 

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The term has been in use for too long here in the UK for anyone to be able to alter its meaning into something else in a short time. But then I'm not really sure why someone would want to coopt an existing term for what seem to be almost political reasons.

Languages are organic, they will adapt. New words or new meanings will develop as they are needed. Trying to push a particular change often delivers unintended and unwanted results.
 
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