Equal Love Campaign

Equal love campaign - A legal challenge on the basis of human rights legislation.

On the 9th November, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, a heterosexual couple are attempting to register a Civil Partnership; a ceremony that by law they are not entitled to do.   

The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 which came into force in 2005 is only open to same sex couples.  A civil partnership is a legally recognised union between two people of the same sex.  When a couple become "committed" and enter a civil partnership they gain the same legal treatment afforded to married couples.  However, many gay activists believe that a Civil Partnership is not good enough and that it is a separate system devised to stop gay people from being able to marry.
Likewise, marriage is a social institution only open to heterosexual couples.  Tom and Katherine are a couple of 5 years who want to progress their relationship by demonstrating their commitment to one another.  They do not want to get married and confirm that their primary reason for not wanting to marry is because "marriage" excludes gay people.  "We have been together for nearly five years and would like to formalise our relationship.  Because we feel alienated from our patriarchal traditions of marriage, we would prefer to have a civil partnership.  As a mixed-sex couple, we are banned by law from doing so.  By filing an application for civil partnership, we are seeking to challenge this discriminatory law."
The Equal Love campaign will see eight couples attempt to register marriages or civil partnerships.  Assuming they will fail and if they do, they will launch legal campaigns on the basis of human rights legislation.  The campaign is being headed by human rights activist Peter Tatchell who is quoted as saying, "This is not a gay-rights campaign: it is a campaign for equal love rights, both gay and straight. Our aim is to secure equality in civil-marriage and civil-partnership law."   The case is being prepared by Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law at Kings College London.  According to Professor Wintemute, the ban violates the Human Rights Act in respect of Article 14 (protection against discrimination), Article 12 (the right to marry) and Article 8 (the right to respect for family life).

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