December 6, 2010

Equal Love campaign highlights unfair marriage rules

by Jan Harris

The Equal Love campaign is highlighting the ban on gay marriages after a Populus opinion poll in June last year found that the majority of people (61 per cent) believe that gay couples should be allowed to marry.

At the moment gay couples have to settle for a civil partnership, which does give legal recognition of their relationship, but does not allow the service to include religious aspects and uses language that some campaigners believe is discriminatory.

The campaign is also challenging the fact that heterosexual couples cannot apply for a civil partnership if they want to make a legal commitment to each other without getting married.

The campaign involves four same-sex couples applying for a traditional marriage, and four mixed-sex couples applying for a civil partnership.

When all the couples have been turned down, they will appeal to the courts over the refusals.

The latest same sex couple to apply for a marriage licence is David Watters and Richard Hull of Greenwich.

Their application was refused by Greenwich Register Office because under UK law marriage partners have to be male and female.

The campaign is organised by OutRage!, a gay rights group.

In related news, ministers are considering whether to allow homosexual couples to register their civil partnerships in traditional religious ceremonies, following the entry of the Equality Act into statute.

This may remove the ban on civil partnership registrations being held in churches and other places of worship, although the measure is still under review.

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