May 24, 2018

The Statements read out in front of the Supreme Court in full

The full statements made outside the Supreme Court on Monday 14 May 2018

Standing in front of the Supreme Court on Monday 14 May, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan made statements asking the Government to “do the right thing now.” Solicitor, Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn and Tim Loughton, MP, who is bringing a Private Members’ Bill through parliament which includes a provision for equal civil partnerships, both also made statements.

 Rebecca Steinfeld

Four years, four Equalities Ministers, three house moves and two children later – we’re still standing (just about!). But sadly we’re also still waiting to have a civil partnership. So too are literally hundreds of thousands of other couples up and down this country. And that’s why we’re here today at the UK’s Supreme Court.

Outside the Court of Appeal last year, we promised that we would keep on going for the 3.3 million couples who want legal recognition and financial protection but cannot have it because they’re not married and because the choice of a civil partnership is not open to them.

Their reasons for not wanting to marry vary from bad personal experiences to conscience to cost but that doesn’t matter.

Their children – like our children – deserve the same rights as the children of married and same-sex civilly partnered couples. Our families are the fastest growing family type in the UK. And the law needs to catch up with this reality of family life in Britain in 2018.

While the government has changed its ministers, its arguments and its counsel, we have just kept going. All the people around us today show just how far we’ve come. Allowing different-sex couples to have civil partnerships would be fair, popular and positive for families.

Our message to the Government is simple: stop delaying and stop trying to kick this issue into the long-grass. We’ve taken responsibility and so should you. We call on the government to do the right thing now – allow all couples the choice of a civil partnership.

Statement from Charles Keidan

 We wouldn’t be in a position to be here today without the encouragement and support we’ve received.

Gathered here are a small number of the 127,000 of you who have signed our Change.org petition. We are so happy to be standing side-by- side. Thank you to those of you who’ve donated to our legal costs and the wider campaign on CrowdJustice and GoFundMe.

We’d like to thank those of you who have shared with us your personal stories. One story stands out for us. It is upsetting and highlights the urgency of the Government acting now, and not delaying a decision until 2023 which now seems on the cards.

Steve and Joanna are a long-term cohabiting couple who want a civil partnership. Steve has terminal cancer so time is running out. We’re doing everything we can to ensure they can celebrate their commitment to each other in a way that is right for them – before it’s too late. We hope that Joanna and Steve will be one of the first different sex couples to form a civil partnership – if and when the law changes.

The government has chopped and changed its ministers and its arguments, but the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign has just grown and grown. Special thanks go to the campaign steering group who have stuck together and been with us all the way through the highs and the blows.

And that’s equally true of our brilliant legal team including Louise Whitfield from Deighton Pierce Glynn, and Karon Monaghan and Sarah Hannett from Matrix Chambers.

We’ll see the Government in court.

  

Statement from Louise Whitfield, Solicitor, Deighton Pierce Glynn

 This case is about equality and the Government treating people fairly. The Government should not be allowed to spend 5-10 years working at how to end discrimination once they have deliberately established a situation which discriminates. My clients hope that the court will agree with us today and help not only those who want civil partnerships but many many others facing discrimination.

Statement from Tim Loughton, MP

We now know that Justine Greening, the former Equalities Minister, commissioned a report last year that showed why the law should be changed and how it could be changed. The Government now needs to get on with making this change.

It should not take Charles and Rebecca to have to come to the Supreme Court to force a change in the law. The Government needs to do the right thing and recognise equality of all. By supporting my Bill the Government can deliver this change without months and months of delay.

 

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