Battle for UK gay marriage equality continues

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The fight for marriage equality in the UK continued today when a straight couple were barred from a civil partnership in north London.

Stephanie Munro and Andrew O’Neill said they felt sad to have been turned away from Camden registry office and that the refusal was “insulting and offensive”.

They are the seventh of eight gay and straight couples to challenge the twin bans on gay marriage and straight civil partnerships.

After the final couple are denied a ceremony next week, the couples will begin legal action. The challenge has become known as the Equal Love campaign and is being led by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Ms Munro, 27 and Mr O’Neill, 31, say they are challenging the law because they do not want a “patriarchal” marriage and because they believe the twin bans are unfair.

Ms Munro, an administration manager with the No2ID campaign, said: “We feel a sense of injustice. The register staff were fine but the rejection of our application still hurt. It doesn’t seem fair that in a democracy we can be denied a civil partnership just because we happen to be heterosexual.”

Mr O’Neill, who is a stand-up comedian, added: “Being turned away was sad. It makes us understand what gay couples go through when they are denied the right to marry. It’s really quite
insulting and offensive.”

The campaign’s leader, Mr Tatchell, said that both straight and gay couples should be able to access either institution.

“Denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership is obnoxious and discriminatory. We believe that straight couples like Stephanie and Andrew should have the option of a civil partnership, if they wish,” 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.”

Next Tuesday, December 14th, the final couple will file an application at Aldershot register office.