Opposite sex couples are not allowed to enter into Civil Partnerships

Maria Pusey of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate Department discusses a heterosexual couple’s recent attempt to enter into a Civil Partnership.

Maria said, “The High Court has recently ruled against Rebecca Stienfeld and Charles Keidan in their request that the High Court determine section 1 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which defines a Civil Partnership as “a relationship between two people of the same sex” to be incompatible with equality law.

The couple, who have one child from their relationship, had said that as marriage is against their consciences, but that they wish to have their relationship legally recognised and to give their relationship legal standing – including to enjoy the rights of one party to a Civil Partnership on the death of the other – they wish to enter into a Civil Partnership.

They argued that homosexual couples now enjoy the choice of entering into either a marriage or a Civil Partnership, and heterosexual couples should enjoy the same choice.

However, the Court dismissed their claim for judicial review of the Civil Partnership Act.

At the hearing, the Judge accepted the Government’s position on the matter which was that they wished to wait and see the effect extending marriage to same-sex couples will impact on Civil Partnerships before reaching a decision as to the future of Civil Partnerships.  The Judge ruled “The Government’s decision to wait and see serves the legitimate aim of avoiding the unnecessary disruption and waste of time and money that plunging into a programme of legislative reform without waiting is likely to produce”.

The Judge concluded “opposite sex couples are not disadvantaged by the hiatus, because they can achieve exactly the same recognition of their relationship and the same rights, benefits and protections by getting married, as they always could”.”

Maria concluded, “Whether your partner or you are married, in a Civil Partnership or are cohabiting, at Astle Paterson we have lawyers who will be able to give you any advice and assistance you may require.

Our Wills and Probate Department can advise you on the affect that the legal status of your relationship will have on Inheritance matters.”

Should you be planning for your future, please contact Maria Pusey of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department on 01283 531366 or by way of email to

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