Lesbians go for first gay marriage

By politics.co.uk staff

Campaigners are set to launch their concerted legal bid to push through a change in the law preventing gay marriage.

Reverend Sharon Ferguson and Franka Strietzel will apply tomorrow for a civil marriage licence at Greenwich registry office, beginning the first steps of the ‘Equal Love’ campaign.

If, as the campaigners expect, the application is refused, a legal challenge against the current ban on gay marriage will be launched on the basis of human rights legislation.

The move is the first of eight planned applications, four by gay couples for civil marriages and four by heterosexual couples for civil partnerships (which are illegal for mixed-sex pairings) – in a bid to build up pressure on the government to consider a change.

The strategy is headed by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, while the legal challenge is being prepared by Robert Wintemute, professor of human rights law at Kings College London.

Professor Wintemute said of the current legislation: “It’s like having separate drinking fountains or beaches for different racial groups, even though the water is the same.

“The only function of the twin bans is to mark lesbian and gay people as inferior to heterosexual people.”

Mr Tatchell added: “In a democratic society, we should all be equal before the law.

“The ban on same-sex civil marriage and on opposite-sex civil partnerships is a form of sexual apartheid – one law for gay couples and another law for heterosexual partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

The campaigners cited a Populus poll from last indicating two thirds of people agreed gay couples should have the right to get married.