Heterosexual couple start legal bid for civil partnership

A heterosexual couple have started legal proceedings in a bid to force the Government to introduce civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples.

In June this year the Government rejected the idea, following overwhelming public opposition.

However, Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld claim that marriage has “sexist trappings” and want to formalise their relationship with a civil partnership.

Lifelong

The Coalition for Marriage has opposed heterosexual civil partnerships, saying they undermine marriage because no lifelong commitment is involved.

And the Government has acknowledged that bringing in such heterosexual unions would cost £3-4 billion in public sector pensions alone.

Keidan and Steinfeld have given notice of a judicial review against their local council – Kensington and Chelsea – but are also petitioning Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan.

‘Sexist trappings’

Steinfeld said the couple is seeking “a social institution that will express how we see each other”.

“Our objection to marriage is partly to do with its history, a union in which women were exploited for their domestic and sexual services. There are still sexist trappings to weddings: there’s only space for the father to sign on the registry form”, she added.

The move comes as Conservative MP Tim Loughton brings forward a Private Members’ Bill which would allow opposite-sex couples to enter a civil partnership.

Marriage-lite

In June, the Government revealed the results of its consultation on the issue.

More than 10,000 people responded to the online survey, and over three quarters of them disagreed with the idea.

Colin Hart, Campaign Director of the Coalition for Marriage, said at the time: “At last the Government is listening to the public, and is not going ahead with offering a ‘marriage-lite’ option to heterosexual couples.

Tiny minority

“It would have undermined marriage, as civil partnerships do not require lifelong commitment.

“Opening them up to heterosexual couples would have been very costly to the taxpayer when only a tiny minority pushed for it.”

Related Resources