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Supreme Court ruling allows a heterosexual couple to enter a civil partnership

Family Matters

Today, the Supreme Court made a judgement on the appeal that was made by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan to allow the couple – who were against the idea of marriage due to its traditionally patriarchal values, to enter into a civil partnership. The appeal outlined that the UK legislation for civil partnerships is not in line with Article 14 and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 14 prohibits discrimination whereas Article 8 outlines the right to respect people’s private and family life.

The couple wants to formalise their relationship however, they believe that a marriage was not the way to do this as it did not reflect their own beliefs and it does not provide equal recognition for both parties. They do, however, believe that a civil partnership provides the couple with the equality in that is already present in their relationship and it is in line with their own beliefs.

At present, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA) states that a civil partnership can only be entered by people of the same sex. Same sex partners have a choice to formalise their relationship by either entering a civil partnership or through marriage due to the Marriage, Same Sex Couples Act being introduced in 2013. On the other hand, marriage is the only option for heterosexual couples.

The Supreme Court made a declaration that Sections 1 and 3 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 are incompatible with Article 14 and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and they have passed the appeal that was raised by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan.

Although the appeal has now been accepted, it was previously rejected in February 2017. Additionally, this does not necessarily mean that the government will change the law. However, the pressure to change the law is increasing. More than 130,000 people signed an online petition to show their support in changing the way a civil partnership is defined by the parliament.

To speak to us about any aspect of family law, contact a member of our family law team today.

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