Last December, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle applied for a civil partnership at Islington Town Hall. Islington council denied their application, however, because they're a mixed-sex couple.
The couple railed against marriage, describing it as an "apartheid" that segregates straight and gay people. Whilst they want the same legal rights as any husband and wife, they do not want to be seen to be "colluding with the segregation that exists in matrimonial law between gay civil partnerships and straight civil marriage."
Yesterday, Mr Freeman posted a message on Gumtree seeking committed and like-minded straight couples to join him and Ms Doyle launch a test case in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg "against the discrimination in UK matrimonial law".
In his message, Mr Freeman explains the case will represent both straight couples seeking civil partnership and gay couples seeking to get married.
Apparently he already has three gay couples and two straight couples "on board", and wants one more "reliable, media-friendly, committed London-based mixed-sex couple" who are "willing to apply and be turned down for a civil partnership" and then join the ECHR discrimination case.
Mr Freeman writes that LGBT human rights campaigner Professor Robert Wintemute, of King's College law school in London, has agreed to represent the couples in the case on a "no-win, no-fee basis".
To find out more information and to obtain Mr Freeman's email address, visit Gumtree.
Can a man and a woman register a civil partnership instead of getting married?
No. Even though essentially the law treats civil partners and married partners equally, opposite-sex couples cannot register a civil partnership.
In order to form a civil partnership in the UK, a couple must:
- both be the same sex;
- not already be in a civil partnership or marriage;
- be 16 years of age or older (as with marriage, however, people aged 16 or 17 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland can only form a civil partnership if they obtain their parents consent); and
- not be close blood relatives.
- Heterosexual Civil Partnership: Islington Couple Rail Against "Matrimonial Apartheid" (FindLaw, The Solicitor - 8 December 2009)
- Seeking committed straight couples who'd like a civil partnership for ECHR test case (Gumtree, post by Tom Freeman - 2 June 2010)
- Austrian straight couple fighting for civil union (Pink News - 17 May 2010)
- I'm backing straight civil partnerships (Guardian - 24 November 2009)
- Straight couple want to 'marry' in civil partnership to protest boycott on gay church weddings (Daily Mail - 13 November 2009)