Straight Couple Lose Court Bid To Have Civil Partnership
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan want to enter into civil partnership rather than marry.
A heterosexual couple have lost a legal bid to overturn a law banning them from entering into a civil partnership.
Rebecca Steinfeld, 34, and Charles Keidan, 39, from London, were told in 2014 the Civil Partnership Act 2004 - the precursor to same-sex marriage being legalised in the UK - only applies to "two people of the same sex".
Earlier this month they had a judicial review claim heard at the High Court, arguing that the law was incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that everyone should be treated equally by the law, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation.
But Mrs Justice Andrews ruled that "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".
Steinfeld and Keidan's cause has the backing of 36,000 signatories on a Change.org petition. Former children's minister Tim Loughton's private member's bill on reforming the Civil Partnership Act has its second reading in the Commons today.
Speaking after the ruling was announced, Steinfeld said a civil partnership "captures the essence of our relationship and values".
"Civil partnerships are a modern social institution conferring almost identical legal rights and responsibilities as marriage, but without its history and social expectations," she said. "We don't think there is sufficient justification for stopping us or other opposite-sex couples from forming civil partnerships."
The couple, who campaigned for equal marriage laws, now must decide whether to take their case to the Court of Appeal, or the European Court of Human Rights.
Keidan said he hoped Parliament would "demonstrate its commitment to creating a level playing field for all its citizens by extending civil partnerships to same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike".
He added: "We believe that 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."