Showing posts from October, 2010

With this ring I thee civilly partner....

Tom and Katherine want a civil partnership. But the UK government won't let them register. Why? Because they are not of the same sex, as required by UK law. Sounds familiar?

Currently, in UK law, marriage is reserved to opposite sex partners. A largely identical form of civil partnership is available to same sex couples. The legal incidents of each are largely identical. There are very few, minor, technical differences but to all intents and purposes marriage in the UK is more or less the same as civil partnership.

How can it be appropriate to have two similar yet distinct systems for the civil recognition of these two like categories? As the U.S. Supreme Court observed in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 US 483 (1954), ‘separate but equal’ policies necessarily imply that the State does not really think that the subjects of the differentiation are alike. In setting same-sex partners apart from married couples is Parliament not really saying that gay couples are not so equ…

Gay Pride and Freedom of Assembly

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the banning of several Gay Pride marches in Moscow contravened the European Convention on Human Rights. (Alekseyev v. Russia).

The Court found that the actions of the Government of Moscow in blocking gay pride parades constituted a breach of Article 11 of the Convention, which guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly and association. The Mayor of Moscow, in particular, had vigorously opposed the marches, instructing his officials to do everything in their power to prevent them from taking place. The mayor's office thus refused permission for a march in 2006, in 2007 and again in 2008. It cited public order concerns, as well the need to protect the health, morals of society and the rights and freedoms of others. It also noted the risk of riots and counteractions directed against the parade participants.

The mayor, though proclaiming his alleged tolerance of private conduct, noted "that 99.9% of the population of Moscow supported …

Wife's pre-nup enforceable - UK Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that pre-nuptial agreements may be enforced in law, in appropriate cases.

Katrin Radmacher and her husband, Nicolas Granatino married in 1998. They have two young daughters. At the time of the marriage, they agreed that, if the marriage failed, they would not seek financial support from each other. Radmacher, heiress to a German paper company, is reputed to be worth E120 million. Her husband, by contrast, gave up a lucrative post in an investment bank in 2006 for a more modest post as a researcher.

Ms. Radmacher claimed that the agreement was made at the insistence of her father, who wished to protect her inheritance. She felt that the agreement also underlined that the couple were marrying for love and not for financial gain.

For his part, Mr. Granatino claimed that at the time of the marriage, he was not aware of the extent of his wife's wealth. He asserted also that he had signed the agreement (which was in German) without the benefit of eith…