LGBT human rights organisation, OutRage!, plan to challenge the UK’s ban on equal marriage and civil partnerships.
OutRage!, co-founded by activist Peter Tatchell, is launching a campaign for equal rights, asking gay couple to file for civil marriages and heterosexual couples to apply for civil partnerships.
Mr Tatchell, the coordinator of the Equal Love campaign, said: “Starting on 2 November, eight couples will file applications at their local register offices. Four same-sex couples will apply for civil marriages and four heterosexual couples will apply for civil partnerships. Every week, through to 14 December, one couple will make an application”.
He went on to add that if any of the couples are turned away, the campaign will take legal action, arguing that in a democratic society both gay and straight couples should be equal in the eyes of the law. “Both civil marriage and civil partnership should be open to everyone without discrimination,” he said.
The organisation held a news conference, chaired by Peter Tatchell, the Equal Love campaign’s legal expert, Professor Robert Wintemute, and two of the couples, this morning at the Halfway to Heaven pub on Duncannon Street.
The legal representative, Prof Wintemute, has said that the bans are in violation of the UK’s Human Rights Act and are therefore open to challenge in the courts.
He added: “By excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, and different-sex couples from civil partnership, the UK Government is discriminating on the ground of sexual orientation, contrary to the Human Rights Act. Specifically, the twin bans violate Article 14 (protection against discrimination), Article 12 (the right to marry) and Article 8 (the right to respect for family life)”
Mr Tatchell says that it is the organizations aim to secure equality in civil marriage and partnership law, with both systems being open to every couples regardless of their sexual orientation.
According to Mr Tatchell, their view is also endorsed by deputing prime minister, Nick Glegg and Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party.
He added: “Both the Liberal Democrat and the Green party conferences have voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending the twin bans on gay civil marriage and heterosexual civil partnerships”.
A Populus opinion poll carried out last June found that 61% of the public believed that should have equal marriage rights. Only 33% of those asked disagreed.