Humanists and Christians tussle over gay marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has expressed its disapproval of yesterday’s judgement meted out by the High Court to the lesbian couple seeking to have their Canadian marriage recognised in the UK.

Sir Mark Potter, President of the Family Division of the High Court, ruled that Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger, who legally married in Canada, could only be recognised as civil partners in the UK.

GALHA’s secretary George Broadhead said: “We were one of the few LGBT groups which campaigned for full marital status, and thus full equality, for same-sex couples well before the government introduced its Civil Partnership legislation.

“Our detailed submission to the government on this issue concluded: ‘Placing restrictions on the respective sex of the partners is as abhorrent as, say, placing restrictions on the respective race of the partners. Rapidly growing international acceptance of this principle means there is no longer any need to introduce yet another registered partnership scheme as an ersatz form of marriage.’

“We fully supported Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger, the couple who brought the court action, as did our kindred organisations the British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society, as well as two of our vice-presidents Michael Cashman MEP and Claire Rayner MBE.

“The High Court judgement is appalling and it flagrantly contradicts the non-discrimination clauses of the Human Rights Act. We hope that Sue and Celia will carry on their fight for equality by launching an appeal and we will do all we can to support them in this, both morally and financially.”

Meanwhile Christian lobby group, the Evangelical Alliance, was unsurprisingly happy about the judgement, Don Horrocks, the EA’s head of public affairs said: “As we have indicated all along, marriage, by definition, is an opposite-sex institution, and we are glad to see the common-sense decision reached by the Court, which resists the hi-jacking of marriage.”