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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Delay in lesbian wedding decision
Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson
The couple say their human rights are being breached
A High Court judge has delayed his decision in a ground-breaking legal challenge brought by a lesbian couple who want their marriage recognised.

After three days in court, Sir Mark Potter reserved judgement in the case brought by North Yorkshire couple Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson.

The President of the Family Division said he needed more time to consider his ruling.

The couple, who married in Canada, want their union given full UK legal status.

Invalid union

The University of York and Loughborough University academics were declared "wife and wife" in a 2003 ceremony in Vancouver.

Their union is not recognised as a marriage under current UK laws which reject the validity of same-sex marriages.

The 2004 Civil Partnership Act allows same-sex couples to register their partnership and receive many of the legal benefits enjoyed by married heterosexuals, but the pair have argued this is not good enough.

On the final day of the hearing, the legal team representing the Lord Chancellor expressed its opposition to the couple's plea and said the case was misconceived.

'No discrimination'

Barrister Helen Mountfield, for the Lord Chancellor, said the Civil Partnership Act conveyed a high degree of "legal recognition" to same sex partners.

She said there was "no positive obligation" on a state to recognise a specific "form of relationship".

Civil partners are now subject to "no less favourable treatment" than married couples, since the benefits traditionally linked to marriage were transferable, said Miss Mountfield.

As a result, the couple could not claim to be the victims of state discrimination, she said.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The couple talk to the BBC outside court



SEE ALSO:
Lesbian couple fight legal status
06 Jun 06 |  North Yorkshire
Lesbian couple's high court test
12 Aug 05 |  North Yorkshire



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