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Gay banker and West End star in £1.4million divorce

Gay couple’s legal battle illustrate that gay splits are treated the same by the UK courts

Gay banker and West End star in £1.4million divorce

A gay banker has won his appeal against a decision to award his West End actor former partner £1.7m ($2.7million €2million) of the couple's wealth.

Millionaire City equity expert Peter Lawrence must still pay his former partner Don Gallagher – who starred in the stage version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – more than £1.4million.

That means his appeal has saved him £320,000 on the settlement ordered by a High Court judge last year.

Lawrence, 47, and Gallagher, 54, lived together for 11 years before having a civil partnership, which lasted only eight months.

Gallagher appeared in Misérables in London’s West End and on British TV shows, Casualty and Taggart and played the major domestic role in the partnership.

But Lawrence, who brings in £390,000 a year working for JP Morgan, earned far more than him and already owned a flat in Borough, south London which soared from £650,000 to £2.4million in the years they were together. They also owned a five bedroom house near Amberley, West Sussex, southern England.

Their total joint assets were calculated as £4.1million ($6.5million €4.9million). But while Lawrence had raked in the cash, Gallagher had played the major ‘homemaking role’ in the relationship.

In the Appeal Court ruling today, Lord Justice Thorpe said Gallagher, should keep the West Sussex house, worth £900,000 which he wants to develop as a bed and breakfast business. And he ordered Lawrence could keep the Borough flat.

Lord Justice Thorpe also allowed Gallagher to keep £200,000 from the couple’s joint pension pot but reduced the additional lump sum due to him from £577,000 to £350,000.

During the hearing, Tom Bishop QC, for Gallagher, said Lawrence was trying to strip his former partner of the High Court settlement.

He said: ‘No person coming before this court who is homosexual should feel themselves treated as second-class citizens.’

Lord Justice Thorpe agreed same-sex partnerships enjoy exactly the same rights as heterosexual marriages under the law.

The exact details of the final order is still subject to further submissions by lawyers, which would push up the already substantial legal costs.

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