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Heterosexual civil partnership and gay marriage bans face legal challenge

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Just over a year ago, Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle applied for a civil partnership at Islington Town Hall. Islington council refused their application, however, as it's only allowed to process civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

As discussed in , the couple weren't interested in getting married because they consider marriage to be a form of institutionalised "apartheid" that segregates straight and gay people.

They're now planning on returning to Islington Town Hall for a second time to ask for the partnership, as part of the against the twin bans on gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

The campaign is being organised by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights organisation OutRage!, and will see eight couples filing applications at register offices and then, when they are refused, bringing a to secure a change in the law.

"We want to secure official status for our relationship in a way that supports the call for complete equality and is free of the negative, sexist connotations of marriage," said Mr Freeman.

"We are taking this stand against discrimination and in support of legal equality for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

"The 'separate but equal' system which segregates couples according to their sexuality is not equal at all. All loving couples should have access to the same institutions, regardless of sexuality. There should be parity of access."

The first of the eight couples, Rev Sharon Ferguson and Franka Strietzel .

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