Straight civil partnership couple seek gay couple

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The straight couple who are challenging the ban on heterosexuals having civil partnerships are looking for a gay couple to join their fight.

Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, both 25 and of Islington, say restrictions on marriage for gays and civil partnerships for straights are discriminatory.

The Civil Partnerships Act 2005 barred heterosexuals from having civil partnerships.

Last month, they vowed to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after being turned away from Islington’s registry office.

They have been advised by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and a prominent human rights lawyer that the best strategy is to find a gay couple who would be turned away from registering for a civil marriage.

The two couples would then approach the ECHR jointly.

Freeman and Doyle do not believe in traditional marriage but their fight has now turned into a gay rights issue.

Freeman told that taking the case to the European court would avoid incurring the legal costs which would arise if they fought the case through UK courts.

He said: “It’s now just a people’s rights thing. No one should be kept out of institutions because of their sexuality. Unless someone can tell me a good reason why, it is really divisive. It continues this ‘othering’ of the gay community, and the ‘othering’ of the straight community to gays. It’s just about equality.”

Freeman said he had been surprised at the support the couple have received from politicians. Their local MP, Emily Thornberry, has invited them to the House of Commons in January and has said she will raise the issue in parliament.

He emphasised that he and Doyle were looking for a gay couple who were willing to take the time to fight the case and see it through to the end.

They hope to find a couple without any complicated circumstances in order to keep the challenge legally simple.

Freeman said he had had some offers of help from couples where one or both partners was transgender, which he said could lead to complications.

If you and your partner want to join the couple in their case, see below for contact details:

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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