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Equal Love launches legal action

This is a press release from Equal Love

On the fifth anniversary of civil partnerships in England

Time for civil marriage & civil partnership equality for all couples, gay and straight?

You are invited – public event, open to all, free admission

Tuesday, 21 December 2010, 10am to 1pm

News conference and debate – Chaired by Lord Lester QC

The Great Hall, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

See the location here:

21 December is the fifth anniversary of the first civil partnership ceremonies in England and Wales.

“You are invited to King’s College on 21 December to show your support for the Equal Love campaign, to celebrate five years of civil partnerships, to hear Lord Lester and other speakers discuss the case for ending the legal segregation of couples based on their sexual orientation, and to witness the launch of the joint legal action by the eight couples who are seeking to overturn the twin bans on same-sex marriages and different-sex civil partnerships,” said Professor. Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law at the School of Law, King’s College London.

Professor Wintemute is drafting the legal case and will formally announce and launch it on 21 December.

“Our Equal Love campaign wants both marriages and civil partnerships opened up to all couples, different-sex and same-sex. Let everyone have a free and equal choice,” he added.

“At this event we will announce the joint legal action to be taken by the eight Equal Love couples. Four same-sex couples have filed applications at register offices for civil marriages. Four different-sex couples have applied for civil partnerships. All have been refused, on the grounds that the law prohibits same-sex civil marriages and different-sex civil partnerships. It is this discrimination that we intend to challenge in the courts,” said Professor Wintemute.

Programme for 21 December

10:00 to 11:00 am – Equal Love campaign news conference

The case for equality in civil marriage and civil partnership law

Peter Tatchell, human rights defender, co-founder of OutRage! and co-ordinator of theEqual Love campaign:

Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London

Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and her partner Franka, on behalf of the four same-sex couples

Katherine Doyle and Thomas Freeman, on behalf of the four different-sex couples

10:30 to 10:45 am – Questions from the media

10:45 to 11:00 am – Coffee break

11:00 am to 1:00 pm – Equal Love campaign debate

How should the Government respond to the Equal Love campaign?

Chair:  Lord Anthony Lester of Herne Hill QC, author of the private member’s bill             that inspired the Civil Partnership Act 2004

Introductory remarks:  Lord Lester

Speaker from the UK Government:  no minister or civil servant available

Speaker from the Labour Party:  no Labour spokesperson available

Prof. Anne Barlow, Professor of Family Law and Policy, University of Exeter

The Rev. Carla Grosch-Miller, Minister, St. Columba’s United Reformed Church, Oxford

Canon Giles Goddard, Priest in charge, St. John’s Church (Church of England), Waterloo, London

Countries, provinces and states with marriage for same-sex and different-sex couples:

17 – Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, District of Columbia), Mexico (Federal District)

Countries, provinces and states with civil partnership for same-sex and different-sex couples:

10 – Australia (Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria), Canada (Québec), Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, USA (Illinois, Nevada, District of Columbia)

Countries, provinces and states with both marriages and civil partnerships open to gay and heterosexual couples ie. “Equal Love”:

3 – Canada (Québec), Netherlands, South Africa