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High Court rejects bid to lift the ban on civil partnerships for heterosexual couples

Crowd funding sought for appeal

The judicial review proceedings brought by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, by which they sought to challenge the government's denial of civil partnership to heterosexual couples, have failed.

In Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 128 (Admin) Mrs Justice Andrews said:

"Just as the UK was under no obligation to extend marriage to same-sex couples, it has never been under an obligation to extend civil partnership to heterosexual couples. There was no such obligation when the CPA was enacted and, in my judgment the 2013 Act has made no difference."

Commenting on the High Court judgment, Lauren Evans, a family lawyer at Kingsley Napley LLP, said:

"This is a surprising decision and crowd funding for an appeal starts today. The law at the moment clearly discriminates on the grounds of sexuality.  Everyone, be they straight, gay or bisexual, should have the same freedom to choose how to define their relationship. Parliament needs to step in to correct this hangover from a Government that was unwilling to go all the way first time around with the Civil Partnership Act.  Today [29.1.16], by coincidence or fate, the Private Members' Bill designed to correct this inequality has its second reading in the House of Commons.  It has cross-party support from MPs, as well as support from lawyers, academics and a petition with over 36,000 signatures.  Steinfeld and Keidan's case has turned up the volume of this campaign.  Hopefully, regardless of today's judgment, Parliament will now open its ears and eradicate this discrimination forever."

In fact, the second reading of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill has been re-scheduled and will now have its second reading on 11 March 2016.

The judgment is here.

31/1/16