Monday, June 05, 2006

Lesbians sue British Government over Canadian Wedding

(London) Celia Katzinger and Sue Wilkinson are taking the British government to court to have their Canadian marriage recognized in the UK. Both women are university professors and were living in British Columbia when they married in 2003, shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in the Canadian province.

When they returned to Britain they applied to have their marriage registered but were refused. British heterosexual couples who marry abroad are automatically considered to be married in the UK. Their attorney will argue in the High Court next week that by not recognizing the couple's marriage the government is discriminating against the women and violating their human rights.

Katzinger and Wilkinson were told they could have their relationship registered under Britain's civil partnership law. Although it offers the same rights and responsibilities as marriage "it is not marriage," Katzinger says. "There is no difference in formal, legal or financial terms between marriage and a civil partnership so we are not disadvantaged in that sense," said Wilkinson. "It is the principle that matters."

The case will center on whether British law breaches the European law by treating gay couples different to heterosexuals. If they win it would not open same-sex marriage for gay and lesbian couples in the UK. The case is strictly limited to British same-sex couples who live abroad, marry, and then return to Britain.

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