A heterosexual couple’s legal victory for the right to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage has been welcomed by East Worthing and Shoreham’s MP.
Back in 2014 Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan tried to form a civil partnership, but were told they were restricted to same-sex couples only.
The couple who live in London, launched a legal challenge and today the Supreme Court ruled in their favour.
The court found the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which only applies to same-sex couples, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Tim Loughton, East Worthing and Shoreham MP, has been attempting to progress a private member’s bill to extend civil partnerships.
Reacting to the decision, he said: “I am delighted the Supreme Court have ruled in favour of Charles and Rebecca and in favour of equality.
“Charles and Rebecca have fought hard and long to get to this point and the Government could and should have acted a long time ago. I hope that with this judgement the Government will now move urgently to support the extension of civil partnerships to all.
“This can be done via my private member’s bill that is currently going through Parliament. It’s time to right this unintended inequality and give recognition and security to the many opposite sex couples who want to register their commitment in ways other than traditional marriage.”
Charles and Rebecca said: “We have fought this battle not only on our own behalf but for 3.3 million unmarried couples in England and Wales.
“Many want legal recognition and financial protection, but cannot have it because they’re not married and because the choice of a civil partnership is not open to them. The law needs to catch up with the reality of family life in Britain in 2018.”
They added: “Today we’ve won in court, but the fight for civil partnerships doesn’t end here. It can and must go on unless and until civil partnerships are extended to all couples. The law is on our side. Now the Government must join us in doing the right thing: open civil partnerships to all.
“We have therefore delivered a letter to the Equalities Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP, urging her to seize victory from the jaws of defeat by announcing today that the Government will legislate within this Parliamentary session to extend civil partnerships to all.”
Martin Loat, chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign, said: “Our campaign group came together to support Rebecca and Charles four years ago, but has grown into a force that provides a voice on this important issue for thousands of supporters nationwide. We welcome today’s ruling and will be keeping up the pressure for a fast change to equalise the law. The Government has had long enough, the time to act is now.”