civil partnership hetrosexualThe restriction of civil partnerships to same-sex couples is about to be challenged by a Notting Hill couple, Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 introduced a new form of legally recognised union: the civil partnership. However, the provisions of the Act only apply to same-sex partners and not to opposite-sex couples.

Civil partnerships continue to be available to same-sex couples in spite of the coming into force of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 on 13th March 2014, which allowed same-sex couples to marry. This means that same-sex couples can choose to enter into either a civil partnership or a marriage, but opposite-sex couples are not given the same choice.

According to the BBC, Mr. Keidan and Ms. Steinfeld, who do not wish to marry, attempted to register notice of their intention to enter into a civil partnership at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in October, 2014, but were advised that their notice could not be registered because they were not of the same sex.

At present, the government has no plans to make civil partnerships available to opposite-sex couples. A survey regarding the issue of civil partnerships in 2014 revealed that over 75% of the responses received were against making civil partnerships available to opposite-sex couples.

Nevertheless, with the support of campaign group Equal Love, Mr. Keidan and Ms. Steinfeld have brought proceedings at the High Court seeking judicial review of the decision(s) of the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid. Their intention is to force a change in the legislation so that opposite-sex couples can enter into civil partnerships. Permission has been granted by Mrs. Justice Elisabeth Laing for the couple’s action to proceed. It’s expected that the case will be heard later this year.

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