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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 11:28 GMT
Gay couple barred from 'family' life
A homosexual Irishman has been banned from living with his Brazilian partner "as a family" in the UK.

The man had challenged the refusal of Home Office immigration authorities to allow his same-sex partner to enter the UK.

Stephanie Harrison, representing the couple at the High Court, said the refusal was "a clear obstacle" to her client's "fundamental right of free movement" as an EU citizen.

But Mr Justice Turner, sitting in London, rejected the "ingenious submissions" made on behalf of the couple.

Ms Harrison said that preventing her client from living with his long-term partner meant he was deterred from remaining and seeking work in the UK.

But the judge refused an application for judicial review, stating that the Brazilian citizen had no legal right to be treated either as his gay partner's "spouse" or as "a member of the family".

"This is clear both in domestic as well as EC law," he said.

'Changing attitudes'

Ms Harrison had argued that her client, a national of both Ireland and the UK, had the right as an EU citizen to seek work in a member state.

She said immigration law should be interpreted to reflect what was happening in society and contemporary attitudes to same-sex relationships.

Stephen Kovats, appearing for the Home Secretary, had argued that EC freedom of movement rules had "no direct effect" on the case, as the Brazilian citizen was not a member of his Irish partner's family.

Mr Justice Turner said what had to be remembered was that the Brazilian citizen was not a national of any state in the EC.

"His rights to enter the United Kingdom are, therefore, governed by the immigration laws and practices of the UK as, and to the extent, modified by Community legislation."

The judge ruled that Community legislation was not "directly effective" in the case as "necessary criteria" had not been met.

He added that the consequences of this decision was not that the applicant and his partner will ever be prevented from living together in the United Kingdom.

But the Brazilian citizen would have to conform to the requirements of the Immigration Acts and obtain entry clearance in the same way as the national of a non-EC country would have to do.

The judge refused permission to appeal, although it is still possible that a request could be made that the Court of Appeal hears the case.

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