A straight couple from London are demanding to be allowed a civil partnership because they do not believe in marriage.

Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, both 25 and of Holloway, believe marriage is “apartheid” because gay people cannot wed.

The couple, who are both civil servants, told the Islington Gazette that they wanted everyone to have the choice between marriage and civil partnership.

Freeman said: “Ideally we’d have the option of a civil partnership or a marriage, regardless of whether we were straight or gay. Effectively marriage and civil partnerships are exactly the same – it’s a duplicate law. The effects and legal processes are identical. The rights and obligations are identical. Civil partnerships are equality in all but name – so why not just have equality?

“The answer is there are conservative people who feel offended by having gay people in their precious institution. It’s quite an insulting compromise.”

Doyle added: “Marriage is patriarchal. The whole idea of dressing up in a big white dress and being given away by your father and taking your husband’s name is a bit old fashioned.”

The couple, who have been together for four years, plan to give notice to Islington Town Hall on November 24th of their intention to have a civil partnership.

They have already made their application, having listed their initials on the forms to avoid revealing they are heterosexual.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is supporting them. He told the newspaper that the ban on straight couples having a civil partnership was “discriminatory and offensive”.

An Islington council spokesman said: “Local authorities must follow the requirements of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which states couples must be of the same sex.”