Civil partnerships: a thing of the past?

This week, the Supreme Court has heard the case of a couple who wish for their relationship to have the same legal status as same-sex civil partners.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan do not wish to be married, and want instead to have a civil partnership, which at present is only available to opposite-sex couples.

The Court of Appeal found last year that they were being discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation.  The issue has recently been debated in the House of Commons and the government are reviewing the role of civil partnerships, given that equal marriage has now been introduced into legislation.

Family practitioners across the country keenly await the outcome of this case. The Supreme Court cannot change the existing legislation – only Parliament can do that.  Even if it is found that Rebecca and Charles should be entitled to a civil partnership, it is still up to the Government to decide whether to change the law to make civil partnerships accessible to all.

It seems unlikely that the Government will extend the scope of the current legislation if it is found that the original purpose of civil partnerships has effectively been replaced by same-sex marriage.

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At my firm, we are interested in finding out your views.  Click here to take part in our poll to tell us whether you think civil partnerships should be available for all.

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