Lesbian couple considering legal action if marriage bid fails

A lesbian minister and her partner are seeking to become one of the first same-sex couples in the UK to be granted a civil marriage.

The Rev Sharon Ferguson, the chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and her partner Franka Strietzel, are to submit their application to the register office at Greenwich on November 2, according to Church Times.

Their application is part of the Equal Love campaign to allow same-sex couples to be married and heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.

Under current law, the term ‘marriage’ applies only to heterosexual couples, while civil partnerships are reserved for same-sex couples only.

Ms Ferguson, who is also a pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of North London, is unhappy with the prospect of entering a civil partnership.

She was quoted by Church Times as saying: “Because of my Christian faith, it is marriage that I want. As Christians, we believe in the sanctity of marriage, and it is a God-given institution, and therefore it is the only institution we want to be part of.”

The Equal Love is being spearheaded by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and will see four same-sex and four heterosexual couples apply for marriages and civil partnerships in the coming weeks.
Tatchel indicated this week that legal action would be taken if Ferguson’s and Strietzel’s marriage application failed.

“This is not a gay rights campaign. It is a campaign for equal love rights, both gay and straight. Our aim is to secure equality in civil marriage and civil partnership law,” he was quoted as saying by Church Times.

Professor Robert Wintermute, of King’s College London law department, said the current law on marriage and civil partnerships was contrary to the Human Rights Act and that the Government was guilty of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.