TV & Radio
Sat 13 Aug 2005
Lesbian couple in bid for recognition
A LESBIAN couple launched a test case yesterday in a bid to win legal recognition in Britain for same-sex marriages.
University professors Celia Kitzinger, 48, and Sue Wilkinson, 51, who married in August 2003 in British Columbia, Canada, say that a failure to recognise the validity of their lawful marriage constitutes a breach of their human rights.
The British couple, who live in Yorkshire, are seeking a legal declaration of the validity of their Canadian marriage in the UK. Papers were lodged on their behalf in the Family Division of the High Court in London, formally launching their landmark action. The couple were not present. Their case is expected to be heard in court early next year.
The two say that under new legislation, which comes into force in December, they will only be given "second class status". They will be able to register their relationship under the new Civil Partnership Act as a "civil partnership", and receive many of the legal benefits available to heterosexual married couples.
But Ms Kitzinger and Ms Wilkinson believe civil partnership to be both "symbolically and practically a lesser substitute".
They said in a statement: "This is fundamentally about equality. We want our marriage to be to be recognised as a marriage - just like any other marriage made in Canada. It is insulting and discriminatory to be offered a civil partnership instead. Civil partnerships are an important step forward for same-sex couples, but they are not enough. We want full equality in marriage."
The court will be asked to recognise their marriage abroad in the same way that it would recognise that of a heterosexual couple. They argue that a failure to do so would constitute a breach of their human rights to privacy and family life and their right to marry, and is discriminatory on the basis of their sexuality.
For an overseas marriage to be recognised in the UK it must be shown that the marriage was legal, recognised in the country in which it was executed, and that nothing in the country's law restricted their freedom to marry.
Ms Kitzinger, a sociology professor at York University, and Ms Wilkinson, a psychology professor at Loughborough University, say their marriage fulfils these requirements even though people cannot legally enter into same-sex marriages in the UK.
Lesbian couple launch same-sex marriage test case
(Filed: 12/08/2005) Telegraph
A lesbian couple are launching a High Court test case in a bid to win legal recognition in Britain for same-sex marriages.
University professors Celia Kitzinger, 48, and Sue Wilkinson, 51, married in August 2003 in Canada.
They say that a failure to recognise their union in this country constitutes a breach of their human rights.
The British couple, who live in Yorkshire, are filing an application in the Family Division of the High Court in London today.
Their case is expected to be heard in court early next year.
They married after the Canadian province of British Columbia opened up marriage to same-sex couples.
Gay and lesbian couples in Britain will be able to register their relationships as a "civil partnership" under new legislation coming into force in December, but Ms Kitzinger and Ms Wilkinson claim this will only entitle them to "second class status".