Heterosexual couple urge government to act on civil partnership laws

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A heterosexual couple fighting a law which prevents them entering into a civil partnership have called on the Government to "act with urgency" after winning a legal battle at the UK's highest court.

Following a declaration by the Supreme Court that the current legislation is "incompatible" with human rights laws, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan described being "elated".

Speaking to talkRADIO outside court after Wednesday's ruling, Mr Keidan, 41, said: "We're feeling elated, exhausted and hopeful - hopeful that the government now will do what is in their, our, and really, the country’s interests, to open civil partnerships to all."

Ms Steinfeld, 37, said: "Opening civil partnership to all would provide legal status and financial protection to the 3.3 million couples in this country who currently co-habit.

"Many of them would want to have a civil partnership, so they could better protect themselves and their families, that's why me and Charles took this legal battle on, not just for ourselves, but for all those people who are vulnerable and need that protection."

The couple, who have two young daughters and live in Hammersmith, west London, are currently prevented from having a legal union through the route of civil partnership because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 says only same-sex couples are eligible.

"Now we've got very small children we've become more conscious of the impact on our family of not having formal recognition of our relationship," added Mr Keidan.

"We want to formalise our commitment to one another. We know there's many many families with children who want to do the same, and now there's the opportunity for the government to do exactly that

Five Supreme Court justices, including the court's president Lady Hale, granted a declaration that, in precluding a different-sex couple from entering into a civil partnership, the Act was "incompatible" with European human rights laws on discrimination and the right to a private and family life.

While granting the declaration, the court pointed out that the Government was not "obliged" to do anything as the result of its decision on incompatibility.

Ms Steinfeld has now called for the government to take immediate action on civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples.

She said: "We'd like the Minister of Women and equalities Penny Mordaunt to open civil partnerships to all immediately; the judges have made it clear in their judgement that the inequality came into existence four years ago in 2014 as soon as the same-sex marriage act came into force, so it's way overdue for this inequality to be rectified."