A heterosexual couple who want to enter a civil partnership have been given permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
West Londoners Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan do not believe marriage is right for them due to its “sexist trappings” but they would like to have their relationship officially recognised. The two, who have one child and another on the way, applied for a civil partnership back in 2014 but were turned away by the registrar because they were straight.
The Civil Partnerships Act states that this option is only available to same sex couples. It was originally introduced as a compromise measure giving gay couples legal rights but without allowing them to actually marry. However, now that gay marriage is legal throughout the UK, except in Northern Ireland, the continuing availability of civil partnerships to same sex couples means that heterosexual couples have one fewer relationship choice than their LGBT peers.
Steinfeld and Keidan sought to challenge this aspect of the law but were unsuccessful in the High Court last year. Their bid was also rejected by the Court of Appeal back in February by a narrow margin. In that hearing, all three Judges admitted there was a potential breach of the couple’s human rights but the Court ultimately decided to leave the issue to the government.
Not content to wait for the government to change the law, the couple has now been granted permission to challenge these rulings in the UK’s highest court. Ms Steinfeld said she hoped that when the Supreme Court heard the case, they would “deliver a judgment that will finally provide access to civil partnerships for thousands of families across the country”.
The couple’s solicitor told the BBC that this latest development was “a very significant achievement” for her clients because “the Supreme Court only gives permission for a very small number of cases each year”.