Opposite-sex couple win legal battle on civil partnership case

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Opposite-sex couple win legal battle on civil partnership case

An opposite-sex couple have won a legal battle at the UK’s highest court, the Supreme Court, as five Justices yesterday ruled that the inability of opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership is incompatible with human rights to family life.

Civil partnerships were introduced by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and they are defined as a formal legal relationship between two people of the same-sex. In essence they establish a legal framework and financial security for same-sex couples.

It has not however been possible for opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership which is what led Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan to claim that the law was discriminatory. Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan wished to enter into a legally recognised relationship but they had a conscientious objection to marriage. The couple had to go “toe-to-toe with the government over four long years”, to fight for equality, but yesterday were “elated” with the ruling.

Whilst this is a crucial ruling it does not automatically grant opposite-sex couples a civil partnership nor does it oblige the government or Parliament to do anything. It does however place pressure on the government to review civil partnership legislation and make necessary changes for all.

Ms Steinfeld said “Today we are a step closer to opening civil partnerships to all, a measure that would be fair, popular and good for families and children across the country”.

It is hoped that the government will now “act with urgency”.

For further information on civil partnerships please contact our Family Law team.