Straight couple denied civil partnership again

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A straight couple from London have once again been denied a civil partnership.

Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, both 26, expected to be turned away from Islington registry office this morning but said they would take legal action over the refusal.

The couple were refused a civil partnership earlier this year.

They are part of a campaign of four gay couples and four straight couples who are challenging the twin bans on gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

Ms Doyle, a post-graduate student, said: “The refusal was expected but it is still very frustrating. We are committed to each other and really want a civil partnership. We don’t like the patriarchal traditions of marriage and don’t want to be called husband and wife.

“Tom and I see each other as equal partners. That’s why civil partnerships appeal to us. They are more egalitarian and better reflect our relationship.”

Mr Freeman, a civil servant, said that the couple would give the letter of refusal to their legal advisor, Professor Robert Wintemute of Kings College London.

By Christmas, all eight couples will have been turned away from registry offices after trying to apply for ceremonies they are not entitled to. They then plan to file a joint action in the courts, arguing that the twin bans violate human rights laws.

The Equal Love campaign is being co-ordinated by gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.

He said: “The bans on same-sex civil marriages and on opposite-sex civil partnerships are a form of sexual apartheid. There is one law for straight couples and another law for gay partners. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

“We see the Equal Love campaign as a historic quest for justice; morally equivalent to the campaigns to overturn the bans on inter-racial marriage in apartheid South Africa and the Deep South of the USA. ”

Last week, Rev Sharon Ferguson and her partner Franka Streitzel were denied permission to marry in Greenwich.