A London heterosexual couple was denied a civil partnership, which is available only to same-sex couples in the United Kingdom. The result of such bans, opponents say, is a form of "sexual apartheid" for society.
When Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle made their request on Tuesday, they knew they would be turned down. After all, they tried and failed to do the same thing last year. But they did it again as part of the Equal Love campaign, which is challenging marriage rules in the UK.
"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 Freeman."We are taking this stand against discrimination and in support of legal equality for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation."
He added, "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 Equal Love campaign is organized by a gay rights group called Outrage. Over the next eight weeks, eight couples will apply for marriages or civil partnerships. Gay couples will apply for tradtional marriage, the straight couples for civil partnerships.
Officials who turned down Freeman and Doyle say they are just following the rule of law.
"Like all councils, we must follow the requirements of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which states that to qualify for a civil partnership, couples must be of the same sex," the officials said. "Whilst we can't legally accept the proposed civil partnership, we would be delighted to offer the couple a civil marriage."