Lesbian couple seek UK marriage recognition

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The Green Party has been invited to submit evidence to the High Court in support of a lesbian couple’s bid to get their Canadian marriage recognised in the UK.

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson were married in Canada in 2003 and for the first two years, their marriage had no legal standing in the UK, instead being converted into a Civil Partnership, but the couple are now fighting for the status of marriage.

Chairperson of The Green Party’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group, Nigel Tart, said: “The Green Party has a deep commitment to equality and human rights. We were honoured to be invited to provide a written submission on our position.

“Discrimination based on innate characteristics like sexual orientation, race and gender are particularly offensive in a civilised society. In post-apartheid South Africa, it would have been unthinkable to create an institution of Civil Partnerships solely for mixed race couples, with the parallel and more prestigious institution of marriage reserved for same race couples.

“If the courts are unable or unwilling to interpret legislation to enable this recognition, the Green Party will campaign for a change in the law, to ensure the fundamental human right of marriage is available to all – regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

“Marriage has a social, symbolic and emotional importance to those who decide to commit to it. We wish Celia and Sue the very best of luck in their challenge, and look forward to celebrating the small part we have played in this historic victory.’

The landmark case will be heard in the High Court (at the Royal Courts of Justice) on 6 June 2006. Under the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Convention on Human Rights has full legal authority in the UK courts, including the right to respect for private and family life, the right to marry, and prohibition from discrimination.