Gay couple from Northampton join marriage campaign

Matthew Toresen and Scott Maloney plan to take legal action in the courts

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A gay couple are starting a legal fight to marry after their application for a civil marriage licence at Northampton Register Officer was rejected.

Matthew Toresen and Scott Maloney, who are from the town, applied for the licence to challenge to the UK's legal ban on same-sex marriage.

Gay couples can at present only apply for civil partnerships.

The couple are among eight taking their case to the courts, arguing UK law discriminates against gay people.

Their bid is part of the Equal Love campaign, which seeks to overturn the twin prohibitions on gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

'Not end of story'

Peter Tatchell, co-ordinator of the campaign, said Mr Maloney, 42, and Mr Toresen, 48, who have been together for 18 years, were one of eight couples taking legal action.

"Although Scott and Matthew were refused a civil marriage, this is not the end of the story," the gay rights campaigner said.

"In late December, together with seven other gay and straight couples, they will file a joint legal action in the courts in a bid to overturn the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

"We are confident that the court will eventually rule in our favour."

Mr Tatchell said the couple are the third of the eight couples across the country - four heterosexual and four gay couples - to make their applications.

Mr Toresen said he and his partner were not surprised by the refusal.

He said: "It's disappointing but it's the state of the law in this country.

"We have considered civil partnerships in the past and thought that wasn't for us. We wanted equality rather than something else that had been added on."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: "Our registrars are acting on behalf of the Registrar General for England and Wales and would be in breach of legislation if they permitted this to go ahead."

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