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Couple to begin court fight against ban on heterosexual civil partnerships

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will claim in high court that current law breaches their right to family life. The article published by the Guardian reflects on discrimination and that many families would benefit from a civil partnership.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan say a civil partnership best reflects their intention to raise their child as equal partners. The legal ban on heterosexual couples entering into civil partnerships is to be challenged in the high court. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who describe themselves as feminists and reject marriage as a ?patriachal? institution, will pursue their claim against the government?s equalities office on Tuesday. The case is being brought on the grounds that the refusal to allow them to participate in a civil partnership amounts to discrimination, breaching their right to family life under article 8 of the European convention on human rights. The hearing is due to last two days at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. An online petition in favour of expanding civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples has so far attracted more than 33,000 signatures.

Is this the end of marriage?

Keidan and Steinfeld said: ?We?ve just had a baby and we want to cement and celebrate our relationship by forming a civil partnership but we can?t. We were both involved in the fight for same-sex marriage within our community, and it is fantastic social progress that couples can now marry, regardless of sexual orientation. We, however, want to raise our child as equal partners and believe that a civil partnership ? a modern, symmetrical institution ? best reflects our beliefs, and sets the best example for her.?

The former children?s minister, Tim Loughton, has put down a 10 minute rule bill ? due to receive its second reading on 29 January ? in support of the campaign. It has received cross-party backing from other MPs including Caroline Lucas, Andy Slaughter and Stephen Twigg. Loughton said: ?Opposite-sex couples who do not want to go down the formal marriage route are completely unrecognised in the eyes of the state. With 3 million cohabiting opposite-sex couples in the UK, and 40% of them having children, this is a large body of people and they have few protections if things go wrong, let alone tax advantages rightly now available to same-sex couples who can choose between marriage and civil partnership.

?Many cohabiting couples are living under the complete misconception that they are protected by common law marriage, which does not formally exist. At a time when we want to do everything to encourage family stability, particularly to help foster strong childhoods, it is absurd that the state has no way of recognising and celebrating these relationships. It is high time we recognised equal civil partnerships to give greater security to millions of our citizens.?
The human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ?Equal civil partnerships are a simple matter of equality. In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. Some opposite-sex couples don?t like the sexist history and connotations of marriage. They?d prefer a civil partnership. To deny them that option is discrimination.?

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Source: Guardian


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