Do we still need civil partnerships at all?
The Court of Appeal have rejected the claim of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan that they are being discriminated against because as a heterosexual couple they are not allowed to enter into a civil partnership. The Secretary of State has in effect said to the court that the government are considering the situation and have asked for time to be allowed to make a decision about the role of civil partnerships generally. Here is what our Head of Family and Partner Fiona Connah has to say on this case.
Civil partnerships were of course created to allow same-sex couples to enter into a legally recognised relationship that brought with it rights and responsibilities. At the time the powers that be were not willing to extend marriage to same sex couples. Of course since then we have had the marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and the first gay marriages took place on 29th March 2014. It is also now also possible to convert your civil partnership into a marriage.
The question now is "Do we still need civil partnerships at all?" The numbers of civil partnerships has reduced since the option of marriage has become available to gay couples but what about couples like Rebecca and Charles? There is, as far as I am aware, no measure of how many heterosexual couples would commit to a formal relationship if civil partnership were available to them or how many couples would prefer it.
Were the situation to remain the same and civil partnership to be open only to gay couples then in my view this has to be discriminatory. If the government are considering whether to get rid of civil partnerships or extend them to all couples then I think I would suggest that in the 21st Century choice is generally a good thing and I can’t see any reason why civil partnership shouldn’t be open to everyone. If you feel strongly about the issue now might be a good time to make your voice heard! I am sure Rebecca and Charles will continue their fight.
To read the full details of this case please click the link here.