The High Court in Dublin will hear arguments today in the case being taken by Dr Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan against the Revenue Commissioners and the State for recognition of their legal Canadian marriage in Ireland.

The couple, both doctors, will seek various remedies before the High Court. In particular, they will seek a declaration that in failing to recognise their Canadian marriage, and in failing to apply the tax law provisions relating to married couples to them as a married couple, the State and the Revenue Commissioners have acted unlawfully, in breach of their constitutional rights to equality, to marriage, to property rights and family rights and in breach of their rights to privacy, marriage and non-discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights.

We are hoping that The High Court takes the opportunity to be ambitious and to make the Irish Constitution relevant and responsive to the real and lived marriages of same-sex couples, she said.

As representatives of all citizens of Ireland you have an opportunity to introduce legislation which fully commits Ireland to equality for all. Critically, we are asking you to act now - not in the next Dil term, not after the votes for the next election are safe, not after the judiciary has considered the matter, she said.

The case arose after Dr Zappone, a public policy research consultant, and Dr Gilligan, an academic, married in Vancouver on September 13th, 2003.

On July 1st, 2004, the Revenue refused the couple's claim for the same allowances as a married couple under the Taxes Consolidation Acts. The Revenue argued that married couples related only to a husband and a wife, and that the Oxford English dictionary defined these as a married man and a married woman.

They are likely to take little comfort from their lesbian neighbours in Britain where the High Court in London recently ruled that Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger's legal Canadian marriage is not valid in the UK, and claimed any discrimination was ruled out by the Civil Partnership Act.

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