June 27, 2018
The Supreme Court has declared the Government’s refusal to allow opposite-sex civil partnerships ‘incompatible’ with human rights law!
The Government will now have to end the unequal situation whereby same-sex couples can chose between marriage and civil partnerships but opposite-sex couples only have access to marriage. Penny Mordaunt MP, the Equalities Minister, has previously publicly ruled out the option of abolishing same-sex civil partnerships, leaving the Government with only one option: extending civil partnerships to all.
Charles and Rebecca have expressed their relief and elation at this resounding victory in their four-year legal battle. Thanking over 132,000 supporters who have signed a Change.org petition in support of their case, they urged the Government to use the fastest possible legislative route to make civil partnerships available to all. They say:
“We have fought this battle not only on our own behalf but for 3.3 million unmarried couples in England and Wales. Many 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. The law needs to catch up with the reality of family life in Britain in 2018.
People are already suffering because of the Government’s delays. Joanna and Steve from Yorkshire are an opposite-sex couple with three grown up children. Like us, they want to formalise their relationship in a civil partnership. But Steve has terminal cancer, so time is running out. For the sake of Joanna and Steve, and thousands of other couples across the country, we hope that the Government will act with urgency.
Today we’ve won in court, but the fight for civil partnerships doesn’t end here. It can and must go on unless and until civil partnerships are extended to all couples. The law is on our side. Now the Government must join us in doing the right thing: open civil partnerships to all.
We have therefore delivered a letter to the Equalities Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP, urging her to seize victory from the jaws of defeat by announcing today that the Government will legislate within this Parliamentary session to extend civil partnerships to all.”
Martin Loat, chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign, said:
“Our campaign group came together to support Rebecca and Charles four years ago, but has grown into a force that provides a voice on this important issue for thousands of supporters nationwide. We welcome today’s ruling and will be keeping up the pressure for a fast change to equalise the law. The Government has had long enough, the time to act is now.”
The judgment has been welcomed by the couple’s solicitor, Louise Whitfield, of Deighton Pierce Glynn and Tim Loughton MP, who is bringing a private members bill to extend civil partnerships to all and is one vehicle that the Government could use to meet the Court’s demand.
June 24, 2018
The Judgment will be read by three Supreme Court justices at 9.45am on Wednesday 27th June in Courtroom one.
Around 10am, Charles and Rebecca will deliver their response to the media and supporters outside the Court, together with their solicitor, Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn and Tim Loughton MP, who is bringing a private members bill to end the current inequality.
They will then march to the office of Penny Mordaunt MP, the Equalities Minister, at the Department for International Development on 22 Whitehall, to deliver a letter calling on the Government to act as a matter of urgency.
Commenting ahead of the judgment, Charles and Rebecca say:
“We believe our legal team has made an overwhelming argument but whatever the outcome on all the substantive issues the Government has already conceded that the current inequality cannot continue.”
Martin Loat, Chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships Group, is clear that there is only one realistic solution. He comments:
“The Secretary of State has publicly reassured Stonewall that she will not abolish civil partnerships for same sex couples. As a result, there is only one possible way forward – giving everyone the right to a civil partnership – and we urge the Government to seize this opportunity to announce it will end this injustice now.”
June 21, 2018
The judgement will be handed down at 9.45 am on Wednesday 27 June in Courtroom 1 at the Supreme Court. It will be livestreamed from the Supreme Court website and an announcement will be made as soon as the result is known.