Rebecca Steinfeld v Charles Keidan February 2017

The case of Rebecca Steinfeld v Charles Keidan was heard by the Court of Appeal on 21 February 2017. This case involved the parties seeking permission to enter into a civil partnership. They were of the view that as a civil partnership is available to same sex couples it should also be available to those in heterosexual relationships. The Court of Appeal dismissed the parties Appeal for their right to enter into a civil partnership. Some consider this discriminatory and a breach of human rights.

In this matter the parties wanted to enter into civil partnership because they did not believe marriage reflected their respective views and values in relation to equality within their relationship. Section 3 (1) (a) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 prohibits couples who are not of the same sex from entering into a civil partnership. Couples of the same sex can marry, cohabit or enter into a civil partnership where couples of different sexes can only cohabit or marry. For those who cohabit the law would differ significantly upon separation to those who are married or in a civil partnership. It therefore follows that those that would like to have the legal status of a marriage but do not agree with the principle of the marriage should enter into a civil partnership. The law currently provides that only same sex couples are able to do this. This does not seem fair however and it is clear that statutory reform may well be necessary to address the imbalance.

Tim Loughton MP for East Worthing and Shoreham has presented the Civil Partnership Act 2004 amendment bill 2016 to 2017 before Parliament. This proposes that couples of a different sex should be able to enter into civil partnership. A debate was due to take place on Friday 12 May 2017 however because of the general election was delayed.

It seems the government is currently waiting to see whether same sex couples choose to enter into civil partnerships when they have the option of either a civil partnership or a marriage. In the event that they do not then it may be that civil partnership will be abolished altogether. In the event that same sex couple continue to enter into civil partnership then it will be necessary for reform to take place to enable different heterosexual couples to also have the option of entering into civil partnership.   

Townsend Family Law are able to provide services tailored to your budget. Should you require assistance please telephone us on 01992 892214.