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article imageChallenge to UK twin marriage bans stalled in Human Rights court

By Andrew John     Dec 21, 2010 in Lifestyle
A legal challenge by eight couples against Britain’s ban on civil partnerships for straight couples and civil marriage for gays has been stalled in the European Court of Human Rights.
This is because of a technicality involving a local authority and its response to one of the couples concerning their own application for marriage.
According to the Independent, “To lodge the application, all couples need paperwork proving they have applied for a marriage or civil service licence and been rejected.”
However, Camden Council in London mistook Andrew O’Neil and Stephanie Munro as a gay couple, when they are an opposite-sex couple, leaving their paperwork technically incorrect.
It’s thought the hearing, slated for today, will be delayed a month.
The UK couples were to file a joint application to the court to try to overturn the twin bans.
The campaigning group Equal Love is behind the challenge.
“More than 40,000 same sex couples have had their relationships recognised in law since civil partnerships were introduced in 2005,” says the BBC.
“The couples, four heterosexual and four same-sex, have all recently tried to marry or form a legally recognised civil partnership and been refused for various reasons,” the report continues.
One of the leading campaigners, Peter Tatchell, of the gay group OutRage!, said: “Over the last two months, four same-sex couples were refused marriage licences at register offices in Greenwich, Northampton, and Petersfield. During the same period, four heterosexual couples were turned away when they applied for civil partnerships in Islington, Camden, Bristol, and Aldershot.”
“All eight received letters of refusal from their register offices, which we are now using as the evidential basis to challenge in the European Court of Human Rights the exclusion of gay couples from civil marriage and the prohibition of straight civil partnerships.”
But it is one of those letters that has proved to be the sticking point, resulting in the postponement of the hearing.
More about Civil partnerships, Gay marriage, Straight marriage, European court human rights, Tatchell
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