January 2, 2020
On December 31st hundreds of couples in England and Wales took advantage of their new legal right to register their relationship as a mixed-sex civil partnership.
Among the couples were Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan who returned to Kensington and Chelsea Register Office at 10.30 am on December 31st, the place where they had been turned away five years ago, now finally able to enjoy the legal relationship of their choice.
Following the registration, the couple issued this statement.
Rebecca: We’ve just signed the Register here at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office, and have formed a civil partnership with each other. Finally!
Today, as one decade ends and another dawns, we have become civil partners in law. Our personal wish to form a civil partnership was rooted in our desire to formalise our relationship in a more modern way, focused on equality and mutual respect.
So today is a unique, special and personal moment for us: a moment when we have been able to affirm our love and commitment to one another in the company of our beautiful children, Eden and Ariel, and close friends, and have that love and commitment given legal recognition in the way that best reflects who we are, what we love and the life we value.
Charles: Becca and I have shared much joy, and supported each other through the strains of life, and loss. We have gained so much through the years of trying to become civil partners – new friends, skills – even notoriety – but also confidence and belief in our own agency and capability. Against all odds, we succeeded in a legal battle against the Government and then they did what we asked for all along. Not many people can say that!
But we both know that with everything gained, some things risked being lost, or at least un-spoken. Through this long journey and hard fought battle, our mental health has suffered, our ability to be civil to each other has been tested, and, crucially, we missed out on that important moment to state clearly what we mean to each other – not just what we’ve become in the eyes of others. So we’re grateful to, and wish to thank, everyone who has supported us on this journey so that we could finally do that in private a few moments ago.
Rebecca: Thousands of other people across the country will be forming civil partnerships of their own in the coming decade. What began as a personal issue has become so much more than that. There is now a space for new, more modern possibilities for people to express their love and commitment to one another. The urgent need to reform cohabitation law so that social policy keeps up with the reality of family life in modern Britain has been brought into greater focus. And by ending the unrivalled position of marriage we have helped to create the space for deeper discussions about giving legal recognition to other types of personal and caring relationships, such as those between friends, siblings and co-parents.
There’s no social script to civil partnerships and you can do whatever feels right for you. Some couples will want to celebrate with an elaborate ceremony and big party. But the beauty is that you can form them at minimal cost, without fanfare.
Charlie, I hope that you and I, and Eden and Ariel, enjoy many years of civilly partnered life together! I love you.