Straight couple lose UK civil partnership bid

29th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

A heterosexual couple who want to enter a civil partnership -- created for gay couples -- lost their legal challenge Friday at England's High Court, but were given the right to appeal.

Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld, both academics who live in London, argued that civil partnerships only being available to same-sex couples was incompatible with equality law.

Civil partnerships, which confer essentially the same rights and responsibilities as civil marriage, came into force in England in 2005.

Though full same-sex civil marriage was eventually introduced in 2014, civil partnerships remain available to gay couples.

Judge Geraldine Andrews dismissed Keidan and Steinfeld's judicial review action, but gave the couple permission to take their case on to the higher Court of Appeal, because the case raised issues of "wider importance".

Steinfeld, 34, said afterwards they wished to go to the Court of Appeal and challenge Andrews' decision on behalf of the 36,000 people who have signed a petition backing their case.

"We made this claim because the UK government is barring us, and many thousands of opposite-sex couples like us, from the choice of forming a civil partnership, and we want this to change," she said.

Keidan, 39, said it was "now time for parliament to demonstrate its commitment to creating a level playing field for all its citizens by opening up civil partnerships to same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike".

During the hearings, their lawyer claimed that without a civil partnership, the couple would be either forced into a marriage against their consciences or go without the legal privileges they need to bring up their child.

Some countries including France and the Netherlands allow heterosexual couples as well as same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships.


© 2016 AFP

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