Friday 2 January 2015

Campaign and legal challenge for #equalcivilpartnerships

In December 2014, my partner, Charles Keidan, and I took the next step in our legal challenge to open civil partnerships to all, regardless of sexual orientation: We issued our judicial review claim at the High Court, and then served these on the two defendants - the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and the Government.

The BBC's legal affairs correspondent, Clive Coleman, reported from outside the High Court. He said that our legal case was an outcome of the inevitable collision course between the exclusionary Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the inclusive Equality Act 2010.

During the day, we spoke to several BBC radio and TV stations, including:

1) Jane Garvey at BBC Radio 4's Woman’s Hour (from 01.10 to 10.28)

2) Mark Mardell at BBC Radio 4's The World at One (from 35.26 to 41.24)

3) Clive Coleman for BBC Radio 5 Live, who interviewed us outside the High Court (from 01.50.43 to 01.56.07) 

4) We were also interviewed by BBC London News, and for an article on BBC News Online

The human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who has been a consistent and principled advocate of both same-sex marriage and full civil partnership equality, and who set up the Equal Love campaign to that end, joined us outside the court. In a statement, he said: "In a democracy, we should all be equal before the law. Denying opposite-sex couples the right to have a civil partnership is just as wrong as denying same-sex couples the right to marry. We now have a situation where gay couples have two options, civil marriage or civil partnership, whereas heterosexual couples have only one option, marriage. This anomaly is unfair discrimination and could be easily remedied by opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, as has happened in many other countries.”

We have put in place an outstanding legal team to challenge both the registrars at Chelsea Register Office, who refused to register our notice of intention to form a civil partnership on the basis of our genders and sexual orientation, and the Government, which continues to discriminate against long-term cohabiting opposite-sex couples.
Our solicitor, Louise Whitfield from leading public law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn, is working with a top equalities barrister, Karon Monaghan QC. Louise helped Caroline Criado-Perez successfully challenge the Bank of England to include a woman on UK bank notes. Karon wrote THE book on Equality Law, and was awarded Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award in 2010.

To support our campaign, please sign our petition and consider contributing to our fundraising drive. Please also
encourage others to support our efforts by signing and donating. We anticipate additional costs in the future and are appreciative of any help you may be able to give us.

Here’s to full relationship equality in 2015!