Jewish couple who want a civil partnership to take legal battle to Supreme Court

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan say heterosexual partners should be allowed same right as gay couples


A heterosexual Jewish couple who want to enter a civil partnership rather than get married have been allowed to take their case to the Supreme Court.

Rebecca Steinfeld, 36, and Charles Keidan, 40, launched a judicial review in December 2013 after rejecting traditional marriage, believing it to be sexist, applying to register their union in a civil ceremony.

In February the Court of Appeal ruled heterosexual couples were not allowed to enter into civil partnerships. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 only applies to same-sex couples.

If the Supreme Court overturns the previous judgement, the west London couple, who have a daughter and another child on the way, will be allowed to enter a secular partnership.

Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan said the civil partnership, which came into law for same-sex couples in 2005, “captures the essence of our relationship and values”.

They view the arrangement as a “simple, modern contract conferring almost identical rights and responsibilities as marriage”, but without its social pressures.

Mr Keidan said: “Over the last few years, we’ve heard the same message: whilst most couples want financial and legal protection for themselves and their families, not all feel comfortable with marriage.

“Civil partnerships offer a legally binding arrangement that is fair, popular and good for families and children.”

Ms Steinfeld added: “We hope the Supreme Court will deliver a judgment that will finally provide access to civil partnerships for thousands of families across the country.”

The couple’s case was first rejected by the High Court in January 2016, and the Court of Appeal later said there was a potential breach of their human rights.

Two of the judges said the government should be allowed more time to make a decision on whether to extend civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples.

Their solicitor, Louise Whitfield, said bringing the case to the Supreme Court, which hears a small number of cases each year, was a “significant achievement”.

Their case is expected to be heard in the first half of 2018.

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