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The Supreme Court has ruled that heterosexual couples can formalise their relationships as civil partnerships instead of marriage.
Campaigners Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan won their appeal against a Court of Appeal decision after five Justices unanimously agreed that current legislation is unfair in allowing only same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships as a legal union.
Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004. They give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, such as tax allowances and the right to share assets when the union is dissolved, no matter whose name they are in.
Rebecca and Charles were prevented from having a civil partnership because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 says that only same-sex couples are eligible.
They launched the legal case because they have ideological objections to marriage, which they deem patriarchal.
In a ruling likely to put pressure on the government to change the law, the Supreme Court Justices granted that couples’ inability to form civil partnerships amounted to discrimination and was incompatible with their human rights.
The ruling is expected to lead to a swift change in the law, either through a fast-track procedure or private member’s bill.
Ansons Solicitors Laura Lambert commented “This ruling highlights how cohabiting different-sex partners not wishing to marry do not benefit from adequate legal and financial protections.”
“Many couples who are simply living together either wrongly believe they have rights if they separate or are completely unaware of what rights they may not have. It is vital that non-married couples seek legal advice.”
If you need advice on this subject or any other family law matter, please speak to Laura Lambert on 01543 431996 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org