Equal Love campaign: Final couple challenge marriage laws

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The last couple to challenge the UK’s marriage laws under the Equal Love campaign will do so tomorrow.

Lucy Hilken and Tim Garrett will go to Aldershot registry office to demand a civil partnership.

They expect to be refused and will join the other seven gay and straight couples who have already been turned away from ceremonies in legal action.

The Equal Love campaign, organised by gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, is a challenge to the UK’s twin bans on gay marriage and straight civil partnerships.

Mr Garrett and Ms Hilken, both teachers, say they are challenging the law because they dislike the ban on gay marriage.

They also wish to have a civil partnership for themselves to avoid the patriarchal and religious connotations of marriage.

Mr Garrett said: “Our argument with the current law is twofold. The most pressing injustice is that the institution of marriage is denied to gay people. The creation of a separate institution called civil partnerships does not remedy this injustice but only serves to highlight the culture of exclusion and discrimination.

“However, now that civil partnerships have been created, it is an institution that appeals to increasing numbers of straight people, including myself and Lucy.”

Ms Hilken added: “I also feel strongly that if marriage has evolved in to a modern institution that has moved away from its religious and sexist history, then gay people should have the right to get married if that is what they want.

“If civil partnerships didn’t exist we would opt to not marry. But since they do exist, we’d like to have one. By prohibiting male-female couples from having a civil partnership, we are being discriminated against for no good reason. We want this ban overturned.”

Mr Tatchell commented: “Congratulations to Tim and Lucy. I support their bid for heterosexual equality. Denying straight couples the right to have a civil partnership is as bad as preventing gay couples from getting married.

“In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. There should be no legal discrimination. The twin bans on gay civil marriages and on heterosexual civil partnerships are a form of sexual apartheid: one law for straight couples and another law for gay partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”