Gay marriage is not a human right, according to European ruling

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Niccolo and Donkey
Gay marriage is not a human right, according to European ruling

Telegraph UK

Donna Bowater

March 21, 2012


Judges in Europe have ruled member states do not have to grant same-sex couples access to marriage, it was reported.

The ruling follows the launch of a consultation over gay marriage in the UK, in which the Equalities Minister promised a change in the law.

The European Court of Human Rights reached the decision in the case of a lesbian couple in a civil partnership in France, who complained they would not be allowed to adopt a child as a couple, according to the Daily Mail.

The pair, Valerie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, had tried to establish marriage rights under anti-discrimination laws but the judges said there had been no discrimination.

The court heard how the women had wanted Miss Gas to be allowed to adopt Miss Dubois's 11 year-old daughter.

But the judges in Strasbourg said: "The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage."
"With regard to married couples, the court considers that in view of the social, personal, and legal consequences of marriage, the applicants’ legal situation could not be said to be comparable to that of married couples," the judges added.

On the issue of gay unions, the judges said: "Where national legislation recognises registered partnerships between same sex, member states should aim to ensure that their legal status and their rights and obligations are equivalent to those of heterosexual couples in a similar situation."

The ruling is likely to have an impact on David Cameron's drive to allow gay marriages.

Launching the Government's consultation on the issue last week, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: "Put simply, it's not right that a couple who love each other and want to formalise a commitment to each other should be denied the right to marry."

Stonewall, the gay rights group, said opposition to religious weddings for gay couples was prejudicial.

The campaign group said: "The vitriol in statements by many political and religious figures in advance of this consultation demonstrates the persistence of deeply worrying prejudice towards gay people."

The issue of same-sex marriage has provoked controversy with religious groups criticising the move.

Earlier this week, Muslim and Sikh groups said legalising gay unions was "unnecessary and unhelpful" after Christian leaders had spoken out against the plans.

Neil Addison, a specialist in discrimination law, told the Mail: "Once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage.

"This means that if same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK it will be illegal for the Government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises."
Niccolo and Donkey
Bobby Bermuda

Fags must be put in camps.