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UK civil partnership distinction ‘violates human dignity’, says Canadian court

A same sex couple who entered a civil partnership in London should be treated as married, a Canadian court has ruled.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice said failure to recognise 44 year-old Wayne Hincks as fully married to partner Gerardo Gallardo would be “impermissible discrimination”.

The distinction in UK law between civil partnerships and marriage “violates human dignity”, the court added.

According to a report in the Telegraph, this is the first time a UK civil partnership has been recognised as a marriage in another country.

Mr Hincks holds both British and Canadian nationality, while Mr Gallardo holds dual Canadian and Mexican citizenship.

The pair entered into a civil partnership at Hackney Town Hall in 2009, but the relationship broke down after a later move to Canada. Mr Hincks sought a divorce but Mr Gallardo refused, claiming that they were not legally married in Canada, throwing his former’ partner’s right to a share in the couple’s assets into doubt.

Mr Hincks took his former partner to court, and after two years of dispute, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Mesbur has now ruled that the couple are legally married.

“It seems to me that to do anything other than recognise this particular civil partnership as a marriage would run contrary to the express values of Canadian society … and would constitute impermissible discrimination.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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