Joy for East Yorkshire professors after their same-sex marriage will finally be recognised in England

York Press: Celia Kitzinger, left, and Sue Wilkinson, pictured in 2005, two years after they were married in Canada. Celia Kitzinger, left, and Sue Wilkinson, pictured in 2005, two years after they were married in Canada.

A LESBIAN couple from East Yorkshire who lost a landmark High Court bid for recognition of their same-sex marriage will finally see their hopes come true next week.

Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger have been told by the Government they will be formally recognised as a married couple on Thursday under the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.

The couple, who married in Canada in 2003, say they will be one of the very first lesbian couples to be legally married in this country, as new same-sex marriages will not be allowed until March 29.

Celia, a University of York professor, and Sue, a professor at Loughborough University, who live in Gribthorpe, near Holme on Spalding Moor, hit the headlines in 2005 when they lodged a legal challenge to the UK’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriage.

They argued that civil partnerships were an important step forward for same-sex couples but were still not enough, and said they believed marriage was worth fighting for.

But they suffered a bitter defeat in 2006 when Judge Sir Mark Potter ruled that under English law, there was an “insurmountable hurdle” to their marriage being recognised as legally the same as a heterosexual union, even though he understood the “hurt, humiliation and outrage” felt by the couple at the state’s refusal to recognise their union as a fully fledged marriage.

In a unique ruling, the judge, who was president of the High Court Family Division, also refused to give the couple a formal declaration that English law, as it stood, was “incompatible” with the human rights of gay couples.

Sue said yesterday: “We’re thrilled that, after 11 years, our legal, Canadian marriage will finally be recognised as legal in our home country.

“When we lost our High Court case in 2006, we never dreamed that this day would come so soon. We’d like to thank all our supporters and congratulate all the other lesbian and gay couples marrying later this month in England and Wales.”

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