A heterosexual couple from London have lost their legal bid to enter a civil partnership, which is currently only open to same-sex pairings.
Academics Rebecca Steinfeld, 34, and Charles Keidan, 39, have been together since 2010 and have a baby. For personal reasons, they did not want to get married, but discovered they also could not cement their relationship in a civil partnership, because it was available only to gay and lesbian couples.
Steinfeld, who blogs for Ha’aretz, and partner Keidan set out to challenge the situation, arguing that the government’s position was “incompatible with equality law,” but Mrs Justice Andrews confirmed that the government had no need to change.
“Just as the UK was under no obligation to extend marriage to same-sex couples, it has never been under an obligation to extend civil partnership to heterosexual couples,” she said. “The denial of a further means of formal recognition which is open to same-sex couples, does not amount to unlawful state interference with the claimants’ right to family life or private life, any more than the denial of marriage to same-sex couples did prior to 2013.”
The couple intend to take the matter to the Court of Appeal, with Keidan saying: “Opening civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples would complete the circle of full relationship equality that began with the hard-won victory for same-sex marriage.”
An online petition calling on the government to extend civil partnerships to all couples has received 36,000 signatures, with a target of 50,000.