Prof. Sue Wilkinson

A 53-year-old university professor and campaigner for legalized same-sex marriage in the UK said she was once a married “happy heterosexual” who had no doubts about her sexual orientation, but political activity and involvement in feminist causes “changed” her into a lesbian.

Sue Wilkinson, professor of Feminist and Health Studies at Loughborough University, told the London Times that her 17-year marriage to her husband had been a good one.

But that changed in the mid-1980s when the young professor became involved with the British Psychological Society.

“I was never unsure about my sexuality throughout my teens or 20s. I was a happy heterosexual and had no doubts,” said Wilkinson.

“Then I changed, through political activity and feminism, spending time with women’s organizations. It opened my mind to the possibility of a lesbian identity.”

Prof. Celia Kitzinger

Wilkinson divorced her husband and has lived with her partner, Prof. Celia Kitzinger of York University, for the past 17 years.

“I’d had a very happy marriage and a very good relationship with men,” she said. “My husband took it very badly.”

In 2003, the two women married in Vancouver, Canada, where same-sex unions are legal. A change in UK law in 2005 recognized their Canadian ceremony as a civil union, but not marriage.

Wilkinson and Kitzinger sued, arguing that foreign heterosexual unions would automatically be recognized as valid marriages, and the law, as constituted, was “a breach of our rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Last year, the court ruled against their claim of marriage and violation of human rights, granting them the right to appeal, but ordering them to pay $50,000 toward the government’s legal costs.

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