In February 2017, the Court of Appeal rejected a heterosexual couple’s case that they have the right to choose to have their relationship recognised in the form of a civil partnership instead of a marriage.
However, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, and no doubt many others, are delighted to learn that their further appeal to have their case heard and determined by the UK’s highest Court, the Supreme Court, has been granted.
Supreme Court Hearing
If the Supreme Court overturns the previous Judgment, heterosexual couples will be allowed to enter into a civil partnership, which came into force for same-sex couples in 2005.
The couple, who have one child and another on the way, want the financial and legal protection that a marriage or civil partnership provides, but object to the traditional stereotypes which they consider are still inextricably linked to the institution of marriage. Accordingly, they want to register their relationship as a civil partnership because it they say that it better represents the essence of their relationship and values.
Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan argue that they have the right to choose to enter into a civil partnership instead of a marriage, and for the legislator to deny them of that choice on the basis of their sexual orientation, given that the choice exists for same sex couples, is in contravention of their fundamental human rights.
The couple’s solicitor, Louise Whitfield, said:
“This is a very significant achievement for my clients as the Supreme Court only gives permission for a very small number of cases each year – those are the most important for the court to consider”.
The Supreme Court’s decision remains to be seen. However, it is not surprising that this matter has gone the distance as it was only a matter of time before the existence of one legal regime for heterosexual couples and two for same-sex couples would be the subject of review.