Mixed-sex couple win right to civil partnership

Mixed-sex couple win right to civil partnership

The Supreme Court has ruled that a heterosexual couple can have a civil partnership, with it describing the current ban as being incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.

Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan were seeking the right to form a civil partnership as opposed to marriage, but as the Civil Partnership Act 2004 only applies to same-sex couples, they were forced to take the Government to court to achieve their aim.

The ruling applies to Ms Steinfield and Mr Keidan alone, but it is thought that the Government may now act to change the law and extend the right of a civil partnership to all.

The couple had argued that, in the wake of the legalisation of same-sex marriages, the law preventing them from entering into a civil partnership was discriminatory.

In February 2017, the Court of Appeal rejected their claim, but at the Supreme Court, the Government failed to justify why the law treated same-sex and mixed-sex couples differently, instead accepting that such disparity could not be justified.

Speaking to the BBC outside the court, Ms Steinfield said: “We are feeling elated, But at the same time we are feeling frustrated the government has wasted taxpayers’ money in fighting what the judges have called a blatant inequality.”

Meanwhile, Peter Tatchell, the LGBT and human rights campaigner, called the overturning of the previous decision a “victory for love and equality”.

He added: “It was never fair that same-sex couples had two options, civil partnerships and civil marriages, whereas opposite-sex partners had only one option, marriage.”