21 February 2017
Heterosexual couple lose latest fight for civil partnership
The Court of Appeal has dismissed a heterosexual couple's challenge to enter into a civil partnership.
Rebecca Steinfeld, 35, and Charles Keidan, 40, object to the "patriarchal baggage" of marriage but have lost their latest battle to gain equal rights as same-sex couples.
On Tuesday, February 21, a judge ruled that the couple's relationship cannot be recognised under the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
The academics say that the Government's position is "incompatible with equality law" and have been battling to secure legal recognition of their seven-year relationship through the same route as homosexual couples.
Karon Monaghan QC told Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Beatson and Lord Justice Briggs that the issue was whether the bar on opposite-sex couples entering into civil partnerships was incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention, which relates to discrimination, taken with Article 8, which refers to respect for private and family life.
She said: "They wish very much - and it is of very considerable importance to them - to enter into a legally regulated relationship which does not carry with it patriarchal baggage, which many consider comes with the institution of marriage."
Dan Squires QC for the Secretary of State for Education, who has responsibility for equalities within Government, said that a decision was taken, after two public consultations and debate in Parliament, not at this stage to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, abolish them or phase them out.
Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan, who live in Hammersmith, west London, have a 20-month-old daughter,
In November, they challenged High Court judge Mrs Justice Andrews's decision to dismiss their judicial review action.