Straight couple to attempt to register for civil partnership

By staff writers
12 Nov 2009

In the latest challenge to what many see as unfair and restrictive marriage laws in Britain, a straight couple are attempting to register for a civil partnership.

The couple, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, say that it is unfair that different-sex couples may enter into a civil marriage but not a civil partnership, while same-sex couples may have a civil partnership but not a legal marriage.

The news follows a series of other challenges to the UK's marriage laws. In July, British Quakers agreed to lobby for a change in the law to allow them to carry out same-sex weddings with the same legal recognition as different-sex weddings.

In August, the religion and society thinktank Ekklesia called for a new legal framework that would allow people to enter into marriage as a religious commitment, with legal registration of relationships being a separate process open to couples regardless of gender and sexuality.

In a statement today (12 November), Freeman and Doyle said that a choice of civil marriage or civil partnership should be open to all couples. They explained that they would personally prefer the latter as they do not like the institution of marriage.

They will attempt to give notice of their intention to form a civil partnership at Islington Town Hall in London on 24 November. It is likely that the registrar will refuse the request, with the couple's action serving to highlight their opposition to the current law.

"Just as gay couples should be able to have a civil marriage, civil partnerships should be available to straight couples,” said Katherine Doyle, 25.

Her partner Tom Freeman, also 25, insisted that “All loving couples should have access to the same institutions, regardless of sexuality”.

The couple are backed by the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who describes the current law as “discriminatory and offensive”, adding that "two wrongs don't make a right”.

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