.Liberty Press Release 31st July 2006.

31st July 2006 Liberty press release

Same-sex couple lose marriage challenge

A British same-sex couple, Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, today were denied legal recognition of their Canadian marriage in the first such case to be brought in the UK. They have spent their life savings to bring the landmark legal challenge.

The Court found that their right to private life does not require the state to recognise their marriage. Further, the Court determined that the right to family life does not extend to childless same-sex couples. Although the Court found that the couple had been discriminated against in their right to marry their partner of choice, this discrimination was justified to protect the traditional notion of marriage as a union between a man and a woman primarily with the aim of producing children.

Sue Wilkinson said:

“We are deeply disappointed by today’s judgment – not just for ourselves, but for same-sex couples nationwide. Denying the validity of our marriage upholds discrimination and inequality. This judgment will not stand the test of time, and we look forward to the day when there is full equality in marriage for same-sex couples.”

Liberty legal officer Joanne Sawyer said:

“Celia and Sue have bravely taken the first step on the road to securing equal marriage rights for same sex couples. I have no doubt that today’s judgment will in due course be viewed as being out of step with contemporary values.”

Liberty Press Office: 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831 128


NOTES TO EDITORS
The Case

A British couple, Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, who were legally married in Vancouver in 2003, asked the court to recognise their marriage under section 55 of the Family Law Act 1986.

For an overseas marriage to be recognised in the UK it must be shown that the marriage was legal, recognised in the country in which it was executed, and that nothing in the country’s law restricted their freedom to marry.

Celia and Sue argued that their marriage fulfils these requirements even though people cannot legally enter into same-sex marriages in the UK.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (which came into force on 5 December 2005) allows same sex couples new rights as “civil partners.” Despite having entered into a marriage in Canada in 2003, the UK automatically deemed Celia and Sue’s marriage to be a civil partnership as of December 2005.

Celia and Sue rejected the conversion of their marriage into a civil partnership, believing it to be both symbolically and practically a lesser substitute. They asked the court to recognise their overseas marriage in the same way that it would recognise that of a heterosexual couple. Sue and Celia argued that any failure to recognise the validity of their marriage constitutes a breach of their rights under Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 12 (right to marry) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) (taken together with Article 8 and/or 12) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Liberty is assisting the couple in their legal challenge.

Sue Wilkinson is an academic psychologist, and holds the posts of Professor of Feminist and Health Studies and Director of the Social Psychology degree programme at Loughborough University.

Celia Kitzinger is a Professor at the Sociology Department at the University of York.

 

Previous Press Releases

_31 May 2006 Press Release__May 2006 Briefing Note__21 Sep 2005 Press Release__Sep 2005 Briefing Note__11 Aug 2005 Press Release_

 

31st May 2006 Liberty press release

Same-sex couple challenge UK marriage laws

In a landmark case which will challenge the UK Government’s policy on same-sex marriage, a lesbian couple are seeking legal recognition of their Canadian marriage.

The final hearing will begin in the Family Division of the High Court on Tuesday 6 June 2006 and a decision is anticipated in July.

The hearing will begin at 10.00am and there will be a photo opportunity beforehand from 9.15 - 9.30am at the front of the court.

The couple will be available for interviews, by arrangement, between 3pm and 5pm on Monday 5 June.

The Case

A British couple, Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, who were legally married in Vancouver in 2003, are asking the court to recognise their marriage under section 55 of the Family Law Act 1986.

For an overseas marriage to be recognised in the UK it must be shown that the marriage was legal, recognised in the country in which it was executed, and that nothing in the country’s law restricted their freedom to marry.

Celia and Sue will argue that their marriage fulfils these requirements even though people cannot legally enter into same-sex marriages in the UK.

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson said:

"Our case is fundamentally about equality. We simply want to be treated in the same way as any heterosexual couple who marries abroad – to have our valid Canadian marriage recognised as a marriage in our home country."

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (which came into force on 5 December 2005) allows same sex couples new rights as "civil partners." Despite having entered into a marriage in Canada in 2003, the UK automatically deemed Celia and Sue’s marriage to be a civil partnership as of December 2005.

Celia and Sue reject the conversion of their marriage into a civil partnership, believing it to be both symbolically and practically a lesser substitute. They are asking the court to recognise their overseas marriage in the same way that it would recognise that of a heterosexual couple. They will argue that a failure to do so would constitute a breach of their human rights to privacy and family life and their right to marry, and that it is discriminatory on the basis of their sexuality.

Joanne Sawyer, Legal Officer at Liberty said:

"Sue and Celia are lawfully married in Canada. Downgrading their marriage to a civil partnership, without their consent, maintains an artificial distinction between same sex and opposite sex couples which is unsustainable in contemporary Britain."

Liberty Press Office: 0207 378 3656 or 07973 831 128

NOTES TO EDITORS

Liberty is assisting the couple in their legal challenge.

The Family Division of the High Court is at the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2 A211.

Sue Wilkinson can be contacted on: 07891 802 168 or sue_wilkinson_2000@yahoo.com

Celia Kitzinger can be contacted on: 07891 802 155 or celia_kitzinger@yahoo.com

Sue and Celia will argue that any failure to recognise the validity of their marriage constitutes a breach of their rights under Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 12 (right to marry) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) (taken together with Article 8 and/or 12) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Celia is a Professor at the Sociology Department at the University of York.

Sue is an academic psychologist, and holds the posts of Professor of Feminist and Health Studies and Director of the Social Psychology degree programme at Loughborough University.

A briefing note on this case is available on .www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk.

 

May 2006 _KITZINGER & WILKINSON - BRIEFING NOTE_
Liberty is acting on behalf of Sue Wilkinson (supported by Celia Kitzinger) in her petition to have her marriage to Celia declared valid in the UK...

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21 Sep 05 Press Release
Couple challenge UK stance on Gay Marriage

In a case which threatens to undermine the UK Government’s stance on same sex marriage, a lesbian couple are seeking legal recognition of their Canadian marriage.

Today, Wednesday 21 September 2005, the case will be considered in the Principal Registry of the Family Division where the date for the trial will be set.

The hearing will begin at 10.30am and there will be a photo opportunity beforehand from 9.30-9.40am at the front of the court.

The couple will be available for interviews, by arrangement, between 3pm and 5pm.

The Case
A British couple, Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, who were legally married in Vancouver in 2003, are asking the court to recognise their marriage under section 55 of the Family Law Act 1986.

For an overseas marriage to be recognised in the UK it must be shown that the marriage was legal, recognised in the country in which it was executed, and that nothing in the country’s law restricted their freedom to marry.

Celia and Sue will argue that their marriage fulfils these requirements even though people cannot legally enter into same sex marriages in the UK.

Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which comes into effect in December 2005, same sex couples will be able to register their partnership and receive many of the legal benefits available to heterosexual married couples.

Celia and Sue reject civil partnership, believing it to be both symbolically and practically a lesser substitute. They are asking the court to recognise their overseas marriage in the same way that it would recognise that of a heterosexual couple. They will argue that a failure to do so would constitute a breach of their human rights to privacy and family life and their right to marry, and that it is discriminatory on the basis of their sexuality.

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson said:

“This is fundamentally about equality. We want our marriage to be recognised as a marriage - just like any other marriage made in Canada. It is insulting and discriminatory to be offered a civil partnership instead. Civil partnerships are an important step forward for same-sex couples, but they are not enough. We want full equality in marriage.”

James Welch, Legal Director at Liberty said:

“Sue and Celia entered into a legal marriage in Canada. It is a matter of fairness and equality that they should be treated in the same way as any other couple who marries abroad: their marriage should be recognised here. They shouldn't have to settle for the second-best option of a civil partnership.”

Liberty Press Office: 0207 378 3656 or 07973 831 128

Notes for editors:

Liberty is assisting the couple in their legal challenge.

The Principal Registry of the Family Division is at First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP.

Sue and Celia will argue that any failure to recognise the validity of their marriage constitutes a breach of their rights under Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 12 (right to marry) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) (taken together with Article 8 and/or 12) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

The case is expected to be heard in 2006.

Celia has been a Professor at the Sociology Department at the University of York since 2000, and is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association.

Sue is an academic psychologist, and holds the posts of Professor of Feminist and Health Studies and Director of the Social Psychology degree programme at Loughborough University. In a case which threatens to undermine the UK Government’s stance on same sex marriage, a lesbian couple are seeking legal recognition of their Canadian marriage.

Today, Wednesday 21 September 2005, the case will be considered in the Principal Registry of the Family Division where the date for the trial will be set.

The hearing will begin at 10.30am and there will be a photo opportunity beforehand from 9.30-9.40am at the front of the court.

The couple will be available for interviews, by arrangement, between 3pm and 5pm.

The Case
A British couple, Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, who were legally married in Vancouver in 2003, are asking the court to recognise their marriage under section 55 of the Family Law Act 1986.

For an overseas marriage to be recognised in the UK it must be shown that the marriage was legal, recognised in the country in which it was executed, and that nothing in the country’s law restricted their freedom to marry.

Celia and Sue will argue that their marriage fulfils these requirements even though people cannot legally enter into same sex marriages in the UK.

Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which comes into effect in December 2005, same sex couples will be able to register their partnership and receive many of the legal benefits available to heterosexual married couples.

Celia and Sue reject civil partnership, believing it to be both symbolically and practically a lesser substitute. They are asking the court to recognise their overseas marriage in the same way that it would recognise that of a heterosexual couple. They will argue that a failure to do so would constitute a breach of their human rights to privacy and family life and their right to marry, and that it is discriminatory on the basis of their sexuality.

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson said:

“This is fundamentally about equality. We want our marriage to be recognised as a marriage - just like any other marriage made in Canada. It is insulting and discriminatory to be offered a civil partnership instead. Civil partnerships are an important step forward for same-sex couples, but they are not enough. We want full equality in marriage.”

James Welch, Legal Director at Liberty said:

“Sue and Celia entered into a legal marriage in Canada. It is a matter of fairness and equality that they should be treated in the same way as any other couple who marries abroad: their marriage should be recognised here. They shouldn't have to settle for the second-best option of a civil partnership.”

Liberty Press Office: 0207 378 3656 or 07973 831 128

Notes for editors:

Liberty is assisting the couple in their legal challenge.

The Principal Registry of the Family Division is at First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP.

Sue and Celia will argue that any failure to recognise the validity of their marriage constitutes a breach of their rights under Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 12 (right to marry) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) (taken together with Article 8 and/or 12) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

The case is expected to be heard in 2006.

Celia has been a Professor at the Sociology Department at the University of York since 2000, and is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association.

Sue is an academic psychologist, and holds the posts of Professor of Feminist and Health Studies and Director of the Social Psychology degree programme at Loughborough University

 

September 2005 _KITZINGER & WILKINSON - BRIEFING NOTE_
Liberty is assisting Susan (Sue) Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger in their legal challenge...

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