It’s all happening in Islington (our neighbouring borough) these days. First, there was the case of the Christian registrar, Lillian Ladele, who refused to conduct [gay] civil ceremonies against her beliefs.
Then came the long expected, but hitherto never tested, corker. Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle decided they wanted their relationship to be recognised in law, just like any gay couple.
“A STRAIGHT couple battling to have a “gay” civil partnership in the name of sexual equality are to have their case raised in Parliament.
Civil servants Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, of North Road, Holloway, feel “alienated from the patriarchal traditions of marriage” – but because they are heterosexual they are banned from having a civil partnership under UK law.
The couple, who have been together almost four years, filed an application for a so-called “gay marriage” but were turned down by the registrar at Islington Town Hall, in Upper Street, on Tuesday.
Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, said: “They have not been to see me yet but I do support them fully. I can see no reason why they can’t have a civil partnership and gay people can’t get married in the same way. The first opportunity I have I will be raising this in Parliament.”
In what would be a landmark legal case, Mr Freeman and Ms Doyle – who have the backing of human and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell – are now planning to sue Islington Council.
Mr Freeman, 25, said: “We went down to the Town Hall with Peter Tatchell and some friends and supporters to get a written refusal. If necessary, we are ready to take our appeal all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.”
Since speaking to the Gazette earlier this month the couple’s campaign has attracted widespread media attention.
Mr Freeman said: “It’s been very worthwhile. We’ve attracted a lot of interest from lawyers who obviously think we have got a case”. [Source]
The only real difference between a civil marriage and a civil partnership is the name. As the BBC notes: “Campaigners who advocated the change [in the law to provide for civil partnerships] said they were more interested in getting parity for same-sex couples, which they achieved, than the terminology”.
Will we have new legislation providing for “civil ceremonies” open to unrelated, consenting adults of either or both sexes, with “marriage” reserved for ceremonies conducted in churches by ministers? Would that solve it?
Why do I get the feeling this will run all the way to Strasbourg?