Current Affairs

Straight couple to apply for civil partnership tomorrow

PinkNews Staff Writer November 23, 2009
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A straight couple who believe the ban on marriage for gay people is discriminatory will attempt to register their intention to have a civil partnership tomorrow.

As the law stands, gay couples cannot marry and straight couples cannot have a civil partnership.

Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, who live in Holloway and both work as civil servants, will file an application at Islington Registry Office in London tomorrow morning at 10:30am.

They expect to be turned down by the registrar but plan to get the refusal in writing with view to taking legal advice and making an appeal. They have said they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.

In a statement, Doyle, 25, said: “We have been together for three and a half years and would like to formalise our relationship. Because we feel alienated from the patriarchal traditions of marriage, we would prefer to have a civil partnership. As a mixed-sex couple, we are banned by law from doing so. By filing an application for civil partnership, we are seeking to challenge this discriminatory law.

“Our decision is also motivated by the fact that we object to the way same-sex couples are prohibited from getting married. If we got married we would be colluding with the segregation that exists in matrimonial law between gay civil partnerships and straight civil

“We don’t want to take advantage of civil marriage when it is an option that is denied to our lesbian and gay friends,” she added.

Freeman, also 25, said: “If we cannot have a civil partnership, we will not get married. On a point of principle, we will remain unmarried until opposite-sex couples can have a civil partnership and same-sex couples can have a civil marriage.”

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is supporting their challenge.

He said: “The ban on heterosexual civil partnerships is heterophobic. It is discriminatory and offensive. I want to see it ended, so that straight couples like Tom and Katherine can have the option of a civil partnership.

“I applaud their challenge to this unjust legislation.”

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