May 13, 2018

Government faces Supreme Court showdown over opposite-sex couples’ right to Civil Partnerships

On Monday 14th May 2018, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan.  The outcome of the case could affect 3.3 million unmarried couples in England and Wales.

Charles and Rebecca will be available for photographs and will make a short statement in front of the Supreme Court (in Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD) at 9.45am on Monday 14th May, before their case begins.

They are expected to make a direct appeal to the Equalities Minister to support the extension of civil partnerships to all, following the High Court ruling last year that the current inequality was unsustainable.

They will be joined outside the Court by supporters of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign, including Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, who is piloting a private members bill through Parliament which could be used to end the inequality (Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths [Registration etc] Bill 2017-2019), and LGBT campaigners concerned that the Government says it is actively considering abolishing civil partnerships altogether in a regressive attempt to achieve equality.

Since 2013, same sex couples have been able to choose between marriage or civil partnership, but the Government has resisted calls to extend this right to opposite sex couples.

Rebecca and Charles have been pursuing a change in the law through the Courts since 2014.  In February 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled that the current position could not continue indefinitely, but, by a 2:1 split decision, gave the Government limited time to decide on the future status of civil partnerships.  In August 2017, the couple was granted the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Tim Loughton’s private members bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons this February.  But over a year since the Government first argued to the Courts they needed time to research demand, they have done nothing.