The Supreme Court will decide if straight civil partnerships should be legal
A straight couple are taking their battle for heterosexual civil partnerships to the Supreme Court.
Rebecca Steinfeld and partner Chris Keidan applied for a civil partnership in 2014 but were turned down, as they are only open to same-sex couples.
The Court of Appeal subsequently rejected their right to enter into a civil partnership on the grounds that they are only open to same-sex couples in February of this year.
Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan say that they should be allowed straight civil partnerships as not all couples are comfortable with the nature of marriage, but want the economic and legal protections it brings.
If the Supreme Court backs the couple, then heterosexual couples will be allowed into civil partnerships alongside gay couples, who have had the right since 2005.
Court of Appeal judges rejected their previous appeal by a narrow two to one vote.
Although they ruled against the couple, all three judges, Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Briggs and Lord Justice Beatson, agreed that the ban constitutes a potential violation of the appellants’ human rights.
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.”
Her solicitor Louise Whitfield said: “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.”
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Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has backed their campaign, saying: “This is a defeat for love and equality.
“It will be a huge disappointment to the thousands of heterosexual couples who want to have a civil partnership.
The court has declined to enforce the principle that in a democratic society everyone should be equal before the law.”
More than 72,000 have signed the couple’s petition to change the law to exten civil partnership rights.
Earlier this year, the first civil partnership between a man and woman occurred on the Isle of Man, between Claire Beale and Martin Loat.