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Indian lesbian couple loses court battle to stay in UK

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London: A married lesbian couple from India has lost their legal battle to stay in the UK on the grounds that their relationship would not be legally recognised in India.

The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, arrived from India as friends in 2007 and went on to enter into a civil partnership in Scotland in 2008, which they converted into marriage last year.

Judges at the UK’s Court of Appeal rejected their application to remain in the UK on Thursday on the grounds that their relationship would not be legally recognised in their home country of India.

According to the ‘Guardian’, they both completed Master’s degrees in Scotland and then found work and have always lived on legal visas in the UK and now want to acquire an “Indefinite Leave to Remain” in the country.

The Court of Appeal, however, analysed background material on India and accepted that India provided no legal protection or recognition of same-sex couples but felt their return to India would not be a violation of their right to a family life as there was no evidence the couple would suffer violence on return.

“My family do not know that I am a lesbian or that I am married. If I return home they will treat me as a single woman and start looking for a suitable husband for me,” one of the women who cannot be identified was quoted as saying by the report.

“I won’t have any legal protection for who I am because my marriage will not be recognised in India. In India we will both have to hide who we are. In the UK we enjoy our family life together,” she said.

The couple’s barrister, S Chelvan, said: “This is a landmark judgment, as it is the first case from the Court of Appeal to address the balancing of the rights of migrant same-sex couples to legal recognition and protection, with immigration control and economic interests of the UK.”

The couple are now planning to appeal against the decision to the UK’s Supreme Court.

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