The Supreme Court has spoken – Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan have been successful in arguing that the current law discriminates against opposite sex couples who wish to enter into a civil partnership as opposed to marriage.
The appeal was heard by Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed and Lady Black on 14th May 2018 with judgment being delivered today. Lord Kerr gave the leading judgment with which all other Justices agreed. The Court has ruled that the bar on opposite-sex couples entering into civil partnerships breaches the appellants’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lord Kerr stated that “the interests of the community in denying civil partnerships to different-sex couples who do not wish to marry are unspecified, whereas the consequences of this denial for such couples may be far-reaching. A couple may, for example, suffer serious fiscal disadvantage if one of them dies before their relationship is formalised. There is no end point in sight for the present inequality of treatment .’
The couple have deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage based upon what they consider to be its historically patriarchal nature. Like many others, they feel that a civil partnership is a more accurate reflection of their values and beliefs and would enable them to formalise their relationship and subsequently afford them greater rights than what they currently enjoy.
The outcome of the Supreme Court demonstrates that the current law discriminates against opposite sex couples who wish to enter into a union other than marriage. Whilst this may represent a significant step forwards, it remains to be seen how Parliament will amend legislation either to introduce civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples or whether civil partnerships will be abolished in their entirety.
A copy of the judgment can be found here
Take a look at our previous blogs on this case and the debate surrounding it:
At Family Law in Partnership we have extensive experience in dealing with all issues relating to civil partnership agreements including negotiating the dissolution and separation process. Director David Allison is one of the leading experts in this area of law. Contact David or any of our other leading divorce and family lawyers at Family Law in Partnership E: email@example.com or T: 020 7420 5000.