Sign the Equal Love petition
Help us win gay marriage & straight civil partnerships
Email your MP and MEPs
London – 14 July 2011
The Equal Love petition is launched today. Please sign here: www.equallove.org.uk
Sorry, only residents of the UK can sign this petition. If you live outside the UK, ask your UK friends to sign on your behalf.
Our petition page also suggests other ways you can help the campaign to end the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships:
- Email, facebook and tweet the petition. Ask your friends to sign too.
- Email your MP and MEPs via this website: www.writetothem.com
- Donate to the Equal Love campaign
“The petition is being launched today. Be among the first to sign. Help us win equality for gay and straight couples,” said Peter Tatchell, coordinator of the Equal Love campaign and Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Eight couples – four gay and four heterosexual – filed a joint legal application to the European Court of Human Rights in February, seeking to overturn the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.
“By next February, the UK government has to submit to the European Court of Human Rights its justification for maintaining two separate legal systems – civil marriages and civil partnerships – both of which enshrine discrimination based on sexual orientation. We think the government will have great difficulty in providing a credible justification.
“Since there is no significant difference in the rights and responsibilities involved in gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships, there is no justification for having two mutually exclusive and discriminatory systems.
“Outlawing black or Jewish people from getting married would provoke uproar. The prohibition on gay marriages should provoke similar outrage. Arbitrarily excluding heterosexual couples from civil partnerships is equally reprehensible.
“The bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships are a legal form of sexual apartheid – one law for gay couples and another law for heterosexual partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right. In a democratic society, we should all be equal before the law,” said Mr Tatchell.
The legal advisor to the eight couples and author of the legal application is Professor Robert Wintemute of the School of Law at Kings College London. Outlining the legal basis of the Equal Love challenge, he said:
“Banning same-sex marriage and different-sex civil partnerships violates Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“It's discriminatory and obnoxious, 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 socially and legally inferior to heterosexual people.
“I am confident that we have a good chance of persuading the European Court of Human Rights that the UK's system of segregating couples into two 'separate but equal' legal institutions violates the European Convention. I predict that same-sex couples will be granted access to marriage in the UK and that this will be because the British Government will eventually accept that it cannot defend the current discriminatory system,” said Prof Wintemute.
- For more information about the Equal Love campaign and to sign the petition: www.equallove.org.uk
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