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Should opposite sex couples have the right to become Civil Partners?

View profile for Melanie Loxley
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This is the question with which the Court of Appeal will grapple later this week. 

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan wish to enter into a Civil Partnership as they believe “It’s a modern social contract that doesn’t have the associations of marriage but would give the protection that we and other cohabiting couples crave.”  At the current time the Civil Partnership Act 2004 applies only to same sex couples.  Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan’s attempt to judicially review the ban on opposite sex couples was dismissed earlier this year.

Will the Court of Appeal agree that this is discriminatory?  The UK has a huge number of cohabiting couples who, for reasons of their own, decide not to marry.  Would many opposite sex couples prefer the option of Civil Partnership if this were made available?  At the moment unmarried couples have very limited claims against one another on relationship breakdown and surely any greater rights would be a step forwards.   

If you are living with a partner or have plans to do so and are uncertain of your rights, contact one of our specialist advisers at Birkett Long.