BRITAIN: Gay & Straight Couples Launch Challenge To Marriage Laws
Led by activist Peter Tatchell, on Wednesday eight British couples, four gay and four straight, will file a challenge to Britain's marriage and civil partnership laws with the European Court of Human Rights.
Peter Tatchell is coordinator of the Equal Love campaign, which seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination in both civil marriage and civil partnership law."Since November, four same-sex couples were refused marriage licenses at register offices in Greenwich, Northampton and Petersfield. Four heterosexual couples were also turned away when they applied for civil partnerships in Islington, Camden, Bristol and Aldershot," added Tatchell.The petitioners contend that Britain's "separate but equal" system violates the European Convention On Human Rights, to which the United Kingdom is a signatory.
"All eight couples received letters of refusal from their register offices, which we are now using as the evidential basis to challenge in the European Court of Human Rights the UK's exclusion of gay couples from civil marriage and the prohibition of straight civil partnerships. Since there is no substantive difference in the rights and responsibilities involved in gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships, there is no justification for having two mutually exclusive and discriminatory systems.