Civil Partnership Ruling - Only for Same-Sex Couples

A case has been in the news this week where a heterosexual couple have lost their case made to the Court of Appeal to have a civil partnership.

Since the legislation of same-sex marriage came into force in March 2014, same-sex couples have had the choice of entering either into civil partnerships or into marriage. In contrast, the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 currently bars opposite-sex couples from entering into civil partnerships, and therefore the only status open to such couples wishing to formalise their relationship is marriage. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan from London had argued that the Government's position on civil partnerships was 'incompatible with equality law'. The couple, who have been together for seven years, wanted to get legal recognition of their relationship, but object to the "patriarchal baggage" of "the institution of marriage".

Though the three appeal judges were split in their decision, they upheld the law as it stands. They stated that a reversal would be disruptive, unnecessary and extremely expensive. However, all three judges emphasised that the Government cannot maintain the status quo for much longer and that they are on borrowed time.

Family Solicitor, Amy Langlois, comments on the issue “The decision is a little surprising because the extension of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples would have achieved equality and non-discrimination. However, the government are considering the policy and gathering statistical data on whether the number of same-sex couples choosing civil partnerships rises or falls, since the introduction of same-sex marriage. This may, in the end, lead to the abolition of civil partnerships completely, since the original intention was to offer same-sex couples equivalent rights to opposite-sex couples, as at that time, they were unable to marry. Since the enactment of same-sex marriage, retaining civil partnerships could be considered as no longer necessary. Though there is very little legal difference between a civil partnership and a marriage, this issue will be revisited in the future.”

Our Family Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Amy or her team, will be happy to chat about your situation and you particular requirements.