A couple engaged in a legal battle to have civil partnerships made available to all – regardless of their sexual orientation – are to take their case to the Supreme Court.
Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan had made the case the arrangement, first introduced more than a decade to go, should be opened up to mixed-sex couples.
As it stands, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 only makes provision for those in a same-sex relationship. This state of affairs, Ms Steinfield and Mr Keidan have argued, runs contrary to the UK’s equality laws.
Ms Steinfeld said: “We hope the Supreme Court will deliver a judgment that will finally provide access to civil partnerships for thousands of families across the country.”
The pair, who hail from West London, are among those who argue they would prefer to enter into a civil partnership, being uncomfortable with certain elements of a traditional marriage while wanting the legal and financial security it brings.
Their argument that the law should be changed was previously rejected by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
At the latter, Judges acknowledged there may be an argument to revisit civil partnership legislation, but the Government should be given time to weigh up the options available.
More than 72,000 people have signed the couple’s petition for a change in the law and Peter Tatchell, the high-profile gay rights campaigner, is among those to have given public support to the couple’s fight.
Speaking following the Court of Appeal’s decision back in February, Mr Tatchell said the ruling came as “a huge disappointment” and that Judges had failed to uphold the principle that all individuals are equal before the law.
Peter Martin, the head of OGR Stock Denton’s Family department, said: “Civil Partnership was introduced to allow same sex couples to in effect marry. It carries all the rights and obligations of a civil marriage and needs to be dissolved if the relationship breaks down in the same way.
“Since same sex marriage has been introduced their use has declined by over 80 per cent. It would be far simpler if rather than making them available to heterosexual couples who for some reason don’t want to use the word ‘married’ but want all the same rights as being married, that civil partnerships were abolished entirely.”