The 'Equal Love' campaign will today, on the 5th anniversary of civil partnerships, launch the legal bid by 4 same-sex and 4 mixed-sex couples to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to overturn the twin bans on gay marriage and heterosexual civil partnerships in the UK.
Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has declared her support for the campaign. Sarah Ludford is Vice-President of Delga and an active member of the European Parliament lesbian & gay rights intergroup and has a long track record of campaigning for equal rights for same-sex couples in the European Parliament. She said:
"I applaud the Equal Love campaign and fully back the case that these 8 couples are taking to the European Court of Human Rights."
"Given that marriages and civil partnerships involve similar rights and responsibilities, it cannot be justified in the UK or elsewhere for people to continue to be segregated on the basis of sexual orientation into two identical but separate institutions."
"The time for gay marriage has come, and heterosexual couples should have the right to choose a civil partnership if they want to, for example if they feel that it is a more modern arrangement without the traditional patriarchal and religious overtones of marriage. I might even have chosen that option myself if it had been available 28 years ago!"
Notes to Editors
1. Sarah has long supported mixed-sex civil partnerships: see her speech to the House of Lords in January 2002 in the debate on the Civil Partnerships Bill, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200102/ldhansrd/vo020125/text/20125-02.htm
2. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a body of the 47-member Council of Europe and enforces the European Convention on Human Rights. It is not connected with the European Union, and not to be confused with the European Court of Justice, the EU's court, in Luxembourg.
3. For more information about the Equal Love campaign go to www.equallove.org.uk
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