Heterosexual couple head to Supreme Court over civil partnership bid

Louise Whitfield

A heterosexual couple who have so far failed in their legal battle to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage have won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

London-based couple Rebecca Steinfeld, 36, and Charles Keidan, 40, lost their case at the Court of Appeal in February following a ruling that said they could not enter into a civil partnership because they were not the same sex.

Judges in the appeal court acknowledged that the prohibition may breach articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights but that the government should be given more time to determine the future of civil partnerships, in line with its policy of “wait and evaluate”.

Solicitor Louise Whitfield of London firm dpg law told BBC News: “This is a very significant achievement for my clients as the Supreme Court only gives permission for a very small number of cases each year - those that are the most important for the court to consider.”

Ms Steinfeld said: “We hope the Supreme Court will deliver a judgment that will finally provide access to civil partnerships for thousands of families across the country.”

Mr Keidan added: “The incredible support from many thousands of people who have signed our petition and backing from MPs across the political spectrum has enabled us to come this far.

“What started out as a personal effort to become civil partners has taken on wider significance as we realised that as many as 3.3 million co-habiting couples are affected by the status quo.

“Over the last few years, we’ve heard the same message: whilst most couples want financial and legal protection for themselves and their families, not all feel comfortable with marriage.

“Civil partnerships offer a legally binding arrangement that is fair, popular and good for families and children.”