Legal victory for Liberty and gay equality

29 September 2010

Liberty today announces a victory for gay equality in the Court of Human Rights. The case, JM v the United Kingdom, reinforces the unlawfulness of discriminating against a person on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

Liberty’s client, ‘JM’, had been required to pay more in child support because her lesbian relationship was not recognised under rules that entitled people in heterosexual relationships to reduced payments.

JM’s payments were calculated in September 2001. Under the rules in force at the time the housing costs of a heterosexual couple were treated as a shared expense. Because they were a same-sex couple, JM and her partner’s joint housing costs were apportioned between them. This meant that JM paid more in child support than she would have done had she been in a heterosexual relationship.

James Welch, Liberty’s legal director and JM’s representative, said:

“This important ruling reinforces the position that treating people differently on the basis of their sexuality is no longer acceptable.”

The Court found that treating JM differently on the grounds of her sexuality breached Article 14 of the Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 1 of the First Protocol (protection of property).

Contact: Liberty’s press office on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831 128

Notes to Editors


  1. For a copy of the judgment contact Liberty’s press office 020 7378 3656
  2. Information on Liberty’s campaign to protect the Human Rights Act can be accessed here: ENDS///