Civil partnerships for heterosexuals – which have been estimated to cost the taxpayer billions – have been blocked by the Court of Appeal in London.
Judges ruled against Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who say they reject the “sexist trappings” of marriage.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, welcomed the ruling for not undermining marriage by introducing a “marriage-lite”.
Dr Sharon James, speaking for the Coalition for Marriage, said civil partnerships simply do not offer the same level of commitment as marriage.
In the UK, civil partnerships have been available exclusively to same-sex couples since 2004, granting them all the legal rights of married couples.
In 2014, same-sex marriage was legalised in England, Scotland and Wales, meaning homosexuals had the choice of either marriage or a civil partnership.
Keidan and Steinfeld have been engaged in a legal battle on the issue since 2014, and said they lost the latest appeal on a technicality. They also say they plan to take their case to the Supreme Court.
The Government welcomed the appeal judges’ decision. A consultation, also in 2014, revealed that over three quarters of 10,000 respondents disagreed with heterosexual civil partnerships.
The Government has previously acknowledged that the cost of such unions would cost £3-4 bn in public sector pensions alone. Ex-Stonewall leader Ben Summerskill put the total cost at £5bn.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Colin Hart said he welcomed the ruling. If it had gone the other way, it would have been very confusing, he said.
The problem, Mr Hart explained, came with the Government’s decision to redefine marriage. This has opened up the prospect of legal challenges.
Dr James told Premier Radio: “The gold standard of commitment is marriage; with the declarations made in the presence of witnesses and the expectation of lifelong faithfulness”.
Unjust family situation
Last year sisters Catherine and Virginia Utley told The Christian Institute that the law is unjust against their family situation.
The sisters will have to sell their house when one of them dies because they are not exempted from Inheritance Tax.
They want the Government to take action to address the unfairness of the system which began with civil partnerships and has continued with same-sex marriage.