A gay couple have been left "angry and upset" after some religious leaders refused to allow them to marry in their Uttoxeter churches.
Thomas Clark was desperate for a "traditional wedding" in his home town – but his requests were turned down by four denominations' churches.
The 25-year-old and fiancée Lee Tams, 28, are so "disappointed" they have decided to get hitched out of town at Burton Registry Office.
Mr Clark said: "Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but it made me feel very disappointed, upset and angry.
"I don't feel like we should be treated differently to any straight person and sexuality should not be an issue.
"My brother and sister are also gay and I know lots of other gay people in Uttoxeter.
"People are much more open about their sexuality than they used to be and coming out is far less daunting, because the majority of people accept it – it's just the few who don't.
"A lot of people think gay marriage is controversial, but I don't think it should be. I don't see why it's an issue at all.
"Everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of their sexuality."
The New Street couple have been together two years after meeting in a bar in Hanley, exchanging numbers, dating and falling in love.
They are planning to get married in May next year and will hold their reception at Uttoxeter's Bradley House Club, in Bradley Street.
Mr Clark, a supervisor at Subway, said: "We're just as happy and in love as any straight couple. He moved in with me and my mum in Windsor Road in May and now we live together in New Street.
"We're really happy together and have lots in common. We're both laid back, enjoy each other's company and love socialising with friends – it just works.
"It's been difficult to find love in Uttoxeter as a gay man, but I've always believed I'd find someone and there's someone out there for everyone."
Mr Clark and Imperial Laundry worker Mr Tams said they were turned down by St Mary's Parish Church, in Bridge Street, Uttoxeter Methodist Church, in High Street, Uttoxeter United Reformed Church, in Carter Street, Renew Church, in High Street, and St Michael's Church, in Rocester.
Margaret Sherwin, rector of St Mary's Parish Church, said: "I'm governed by the Church of England law and what the House of Bishops have to say on the matter.
"My personal licence as a vicar in Uttoxeter would be revoked if we hosted this particular couple's wedding.
"This isn't a personal thing – it's a case of abiding by the rules of the Church of England."
Rev Sue Preston, of Uttoxeter Methodist Church, said: "Like many Christian denominations, the Methodist Church is still discussing its position on same-sex marriage.
"While a marriage service is not currently possible within the church, I have invited the couple to meet with me so that we can discuss what support Uttoxeter Methodist Church can offer. The offer is, of course, still open."
Speaking on behalf of Uttoxeter United Reformed Church, its national body confirmed the town's church was not registered to marry gay people, but did had the freedom to register.
Representatives from St Michael's Church and Renew Church declined to comment.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE – THE NATIONAL PICTURE
The first steps towards same-sex marriages being recognised in law were taken when the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 was passed by parliament.
Early in 2013, the House of Commons voted on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which was passed with a large majority of 400 to 175 on its second reading.
Burton and Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths was one of those to vote against the bill after receiving hundreds messages expressing religious concerns from his constituents.
However, in 2016, Mr Griffiths said he was "wrong to put those concerns ahead of the right for people who love each other to find … happiness". He described his decision as a "deep regret" which he "wished he could change".
South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler, North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen and Tean and Checkley MP Sir Bill Cash also voted against the bill. Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant, Alton MP Karen Bradley and Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin voted in favour.
The legislation allowed church denominations the right to decide their own policies on same-sex marriage.
A spokesperson for the Church of England's Lichfield Diocese said: "The traditional teaching of the church is that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman and the diocese is committed to that teaching.
"At the same time, following the Church of England's General Synod in February, there was a call for a 'radical new Christian inclusion' of gay and lesbian people in the church.
"We are currently working with LGBT clergy and lay people to look at what that means for churches across our diocese and are committed to building an inclusive and faithful church that loves and serves all of its communities."
A spokesperson from the national United Reformed Church said: "The United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly agreed in July 2016 that decisions about whether to allow the marriage of same-sex couples would be made by individual congregations, within the different legal systems of parts of the United Kingdom.
"The URC General Assembly decision in 2016 followed legislation in 2013 and 2014 bringing recognition for same-sex marriage into law in England, Wales and Scotland.
"United Reformed churches are not obliged to register their properties for same-sex marriages.
"It is a matter for local 'opt-in', if the local church so decides. Uttoxeter URC is not registered to hold same-sex marriage services."