Lesbian couple demand the right to marry

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

A lesbian couple in Hampshire will attempt to register a marriage tomorrow. Colette French and Katie Green, both 21, say that civil partnerships were created to deny gay couples equality.

They will go to Petersfield Register Office in Hampshire tomorrow but expected to be turned away.

They are the fifth of eight straight and gay couples to attempt to register for ceremonies they are not entitled to.

The applications are part of the Equal Love campaign, which is challenging the ban on gay marriage and straight civil partnerships.

The campaign is being co-ordinated by gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.

Ms French, an administrator, said: “Love is equal and should be recognised as such. Failure to open up marriage to all couples sends out the message that lesbian and gay couples are not on par with our heterosexual counterparts.

“I have a lasting commitment to Katie and wish to register this through a civil marriage. I feel that civil partnerships were set up as a second class institution to deny us equality with opposite-sex couple.”

Ms Green, a student of International Relations and Politics at Portsmouth University, said: “We love each other and want to formalise our relationship. Marriage is the universally recognised system of love and commitment. We want to be part of it, to secure the ultimate recognition of our relationship.

“In a democracy, institutions should reflect society and be open to all. Civil partnerships and civil marriages offer almost the same rights and responsibilities. Therefore it seems the only reason that marriage has a closed door policy towards lesbian and gay couples is to denote their inferior status.

“Segregating gay couples into civil partnerships perpetuates homophobic prejudice and discrimination.”

The couple, who have been together for two years, will then take their letter of rejection to their lawyer with a view to challenging the ban in court.

Mr Tatchell said: “The outlawing of same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships are a form of sexual apartheid – one law for gay couples and another law for heterosexual partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”