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Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides:
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.
There are therefore two constituent rights, marriage and founding a family, which have been explored and developed in the case law. Because Article 8 has proved such a reliable source for claims relating to family, relationships and home the jurisprudence on Article 12 itself is fairly thin. However it has been invoked in challenges to the government’s efforts to prevent sham marriage as a way of evading immigration controls, and in the campaign to allow civil partnerships to be registered in religious institutions and the legal challenge to UK laws which permit civil partnerships for same-sex couples but prevents them from marrying.