Update from British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell:
A heterosexual couple, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, were refused a civil partnership at Islington Register Office in London this morning, Tuesday, 9 November. The registrar cited the legal ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships as the reason for the refusal.
Commenting on the refusal, Katherine Doyle (26, postgraduate 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,” she said.
Her partner Tom Freeman (26, administrator) added:
“Despite being rejected, we’ll carry on the fight. We are referring the letter of refusal to our legal advisor, Professor Robert Wintemute of Kings College London. Together with other gay and straight couples, later this year we plan to file a joint action in the courts to overturn the twin bans on heterosexual civil partnerships and gay civil marriages. We believe these bans violate Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the Human Rights Act and will be eventually overturned by the courts.
“The denial of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples perpetuates inequality. It is discriminatory and illegal,” he said.
Tom and Katherine’s application today is part of the new Equal Love campaign, which seeks the repeal of the twin prohibitions on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.