Couple given green light to challenge civil partnership rule


A Jewish couple who launched a legal challenge against the ban on heterosexual civil partnerships has been granted permission to continue with their claim by a High Court judge.

Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing has said Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan can now proceed with their case against the government’s continued barring of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.

The couple reject traditional marriage on the grounds it is sexist and want to register their union in a civil ceremony.

They launched a judicial review claim at the High Court in December after trying to hold a ceremony at Chelsea Town Hall, where they were turned away because the Civil Partnership Act only applies to same-sex couples.

The judge has also granted the couple, who are both academics a Protective Costs Order to limit their liability for the government’s legal costs in the event that their case is unsuccessful.

Ms Steinfeld said the move was “a significant milestone in our effort to open civil partnerships to all, regardless of sex or sexual orientation.

“The judge’s order recognises the public importance of addressing the issue of direct discrimination against opposite sex couples seeking civil partnerships.

“There is now no doubt that there is public interest in ending this inequality. We again urge the Minister for Equalities, Nicky Morgan MP, to avoid the need for costly legal action by introducing a simple amendment that removes the clause barring civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples from the Civil Partnership Act 2004.”

The couple could still be liable for up to £70,000 of legal costs and have launched an appeal for contributions via crowd-funding website GoFundMe.

Mr Keidan said: “We have already received support from thousands of people across the country, who have signed our petition and contributed to our legal fund.

“We are also delighted to be working together with other couples and high-profile figures who share our concerns that every social institution should be open to everyone, regardless of sex or sexual orientation.”

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