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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Court to decide on lesbian couple
Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson
The couple reject the conversion of their marriage to a civil partnership
A lesbian couple who married legally in Canada are awaiting a High Court ruling on whether their union can be given full legal status in the UK.

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, of North Yorkshire, say a failure to recognise the legality of their vows is a breach of their human rights.

They also reject the conversion of their marriage to a civil partnership under the UK's Civil Partnership Act.

The president of the Family Division, is due to make his ruling on Monday.

Sir Mark Potter said he needed time to consider his decision after a three-day hearing in June.

For an overseas marriage to be recognised in the UK, it must be shown that it was legal, recognised in the country in which it was carried out and that nothing in the country's law restricted the couple's freedom to marry.

Case misconceived

The couple say their marriage meets all those requirements and want the court to recognise their union in the same way it would that of a heterosexual couple.

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

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.

During the High Court hearing, the legal team representing the Lord Chancellor expressed its opposition to the couple's plea and said the case was misconceived.

Barrister Helen Mountfield, for the Lord Chancellor, said civil partners were now subject to "no less favourable treatment" than married couples, since the benefits traditionally linked to marriage were transferable.

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


SEE ALSO
Delay in lesbian wedding decision
09 Jun 06 |  North Yorkshire
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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