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    2015 Roundup & 2016 Coming Up

    January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016

2015 Roundup & 2016 Coming Up

Happy new year! And wow what a year 2015 has been for the legal case and campaign for equal civil partnerships!

On the legal side, our case was granted permission to proceed to a full hearing, as well as a protective costs order because the judge deemed it in the public interest. On the campaign side, we built a dedicated campaign group, including education journalist Fiona Millar, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and human rights law professor Robert Wintemute. Thanks to generous support, we also hired a campaign manager, the lovely and smart Ava Lee, and together we launched the #EqualCivilPartnerships campaign website:http://equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk/. Members of the campaign group and supporters gave interviews on BBC radio and TV, ITV and for The Observer Magazine, and we wrote op-eds for and published letters in The Guardian, The Independent, The Scottish Herald and Pink News, amongst others. Finally and most importantly, you, our supporters, generously contributed almost £15,000 in donations to our legal effort through GoFundMe. You also shared with us your moving and inspiring stories about your reasons for wanting the choice of a civil partnership. These reminded us why this issue is so important to so many of you and spurred us on during the especially challenging times (and there were a few of these when we were sleep-deprived with our newborn baby Eden).

Now January 2016 is here and it is set to be the most important month yet: The legal hearing is scheduled to take place on January 19 and 20, and our outstanding legal team – Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn, who is one of the leading solicitors in the field of human rights law, and Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers, who is the UK’s top equalities barrister – are hard at work preparing the arguments. Before that though, on January 13, there will be an event in Parliament, hosted by our constituency MP Andy Slaughter and the former Minister for Families and Children, Tim Loughton MP, who has proposed an amendment to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to remove the clause limiting civil partnerships to same-sex couples only. The event will include a panel discussion with senior lawyers, campaigners, academics and policy experts, who will explore opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. Please write to hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk if you’d like to attend. And then, after the hearing, on January 29, we will have the second reading of Tim Loughton’s Ten-Minute Rule Bill, which you should be able to watch on BBC Parliament.

There’s so much going on, and who knows how we’re going to get it all done with our seven-month old in tow!!!

We are also concerned about costs. We have contributed £6,500 from our own savings, but are still £9,000 short of covering our legal costs. We’ve come so far but this is a challenging amount so anything you are able to give is greatly appreciated. Please encourage your friends, family and others who support the effort to do the same. All amounts, however big or small, are gratefully received:http://gofundme.com/civilpartnerships

We will be in touch with another update soon but, in the meantime, thank you for your ongoing support and wishing you all the very best for 2016.

Charles & Rebecca

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