Mail Online (UK) March 2012
Same-sex marriages are not a human right, European judges have ruled. Their decision shreds the claim by ministers that gay marriage is a universal human right and that same-sex couples have a right to marry because their mutual commitment is just as strong as that of husbands and wives. The ruling was made by judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following a case involving a lesbian couple in a civil partnership who complained the French courts would not allow them to adopt a child as a couple. They declared: ‘The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage.’ The judges added that couples who are not married do not enjoy the same status as those who are. ‘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.’
……..Neil Addison, a specialist in discrimination law, said: ‘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.’ The Government’s consultation paper also said that no church would have to conduct gay weddings. It said there would be different legal categories of civil and religious marriage and same-sex couples would not be allowed religious marriages. But Church of England lawyers have already warned that if same-sex marriage goes ahead, then equality law is likely to force churches to fall into line and perform the wedding ceremonies.