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Is excluding same-sex couples from marriage fair?

07 April 2011

Same-sex couple holding hands WEB

Some of the UK’s leading marriage lawyers and campaigners will descend on the University (Friday 14th April) to consider if laws governing UK marriage are ‘fit for purpose’.

Organised by Cardiff Law School’s Centre for Human Rights and Public Law, the one-day conference will bring together professionals, lawyers, activists to explore whether the current law, which excludes same-sex couples from marriage and excludes heterosexual couples from civil partnerships needs to be changed.

The conference will hear from leading human rights campaigner and member of the gay rights group OutRage, Peter Tatchell and Professor Robert Wintemute of King’s College London, who will consider the political and legal contexts of the campaign for legislative change.

Professors Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson - a same-sex British couple who were legally married in Canada in 2003 - will also give their own personal experience of the UK law. In 2006, their claim to have their marriage recognised as such in the UK was rejected by the High Court in the landmark judgment Wilkinson v Kitzinger.

Professor Luke Clements, Director of the Centre for Health and Social Care Law, Cardiff Law School said: "With the UK Coalition Government consulting on whether to allow religious buildings to be used to conduct civil partnership ceremonies and President Obama’s recent decision to drop his administration’s opposition to gay marriages, this conference could not be more timely.

"Whether the current law, which excludes same-sex couples from marriage and excludes heterosexual couples from civil partnerships, is ‘fit for purpose’ and having two separate systems violates the European Convention on Human Rights are just some of the key questions which this conference will seek to address."

Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix chambers London will provide a critical analysis of the legal implications of the judgment, and Dr Augur Pearce, Cardiff Law School, will analyse the contribution of organised religion to the current law, as well as the religious implications of reform.

Cardiff Law School has a limited number of free tickets available. To book your place or to find out more about the event please contact:

A full conference programme is also available at:

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