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In the Supreme Court today: Is denying straight couples a civil partnership unlawful?

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39

Lady Hale to hear boyfriend and girlfriend’s human rights challenge

Today is the day the Supreme Court will hear that not allowing straight couples to become civil partners is unlawful.

Boyfriend and girlfriend Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will argue that the government’s continuing decision not to make changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 infringes on their Article 8 and Article 14 human rights. They, represented by Karon Monaghan QC, Sarah Hannett and solicitors at Deighton Pierce Glynn, are seeking a declaration of incompatibility.

Steinfeld and Keidan’s fight to the highest court in the land is testament to how much they want to become civil partners and, concurrently, how much they don’t want to get married. The pair, who are both academics, say marriage is “not an option” for them because of its “historically patriarchal nature”.

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This judicial review has, so far, been unsuccessful at every instance.

In the High Court, Mrs Justice Andrews DBE said the state is under no obligation to extend civil partnerships, but gave the pair permission to appeal because of the case’s “wider importance”. In the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Beatson and Lord Justice Briggs upheld Andrews’ decision.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan. Image via Twitter @beccasteinfeld

It was hardly an overwhelming victory for the government though. The three judges did agree that there was discrimination present and said it couldn’t last indefinitely.

Five justices will hear the case in the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to last two days. They are: Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed and Lady Black. James Eadie QC and Dan Squires QC will be representing the responding government.

Homosexual couples have been able to enter civil partnerships since 2004. In 2013, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act made gay marriage legal in the United Kingdom.

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39 Comments

Anonymous

No doubt they will, after judicial deliberation and a length judgement, ultimately kick this issue back to parliament.

(7)(0)

Judge Hobosexual

But how will Katie and lady Hale get a civil partnership then?

(8)(1)

Anonymous

What a waste of time.

(20)(4)

Anonymous

And money

(3)(0)

Name

Do you have to pay costs in the SC?

If so, how can this case be worth bringing?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I hope the government responds to this ‘discrimination’ by eradicating civil partnerships.

There you go. All equal. This ‘patriarchal’ institution is now the only choice you and anyone else has.

Now stop your tiresome moral grandstanding and get on with it!

(37)(5)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

This would render the civil partnerships that thousands of homosexual couples have entered into void, though. It’s a silly and bad suggestion.

Just let straight people have civil partnerships, too. Solves the problem of inequality whilst maintaining existing legally recognised relationships.

(6)(4)

Trumpenkreig

Why can’t gay people marry too? Isn’t that discriminatory? We should be allowed to get married like the rest of you.

(1)(11)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

Gay people can get married. This is a good thing.

(5)(4)

Trumpenkreig

Are you proposing to me? Yuck.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

“This would render the civil partnerships that thousands of homosexual couples have entered into void, though. It’s a silly and bad suggestion.“

No it wouldn’t. Any civil partnerships currently in existence would remain in existence. You just legislate that no more can be created.

(16)(0)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

“Eradicate” does not, to me, imply that existing civil partnerships would be allowed to continue.

(1)(5)

Anonymous

Don’t be silly. It obviously meant ‘abolish the provisions for further civil partnerships’ not unwind all those in existence.

You obviously take pleasure in being deliberately obtuse.

(5)(1)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

I can assure you that posting on LC affords me little pleasure.

(0)(1)

Doubting Thomas

I seriously doubt that.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Trumpenkrieg and Not Amused. What a partnership.

(4)(2)

Trumpenkrieg

I think Corbyn. Sympathiser is after me.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Can’t see how it’s any worse than denying gay couples religious marriage. Fair enough that churches shouldn’t be forced to offer it, but the fact that it’s illegal to do it at all it pretty awful.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

*is pretty awful

(0)(0)

Anonymous

*is awful pretty

(3)(0)

Anonymous

There’s so many logical inaccuracies in this comment I don’t know where to begin.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

It’s a religious ceremony. Why should they?
If it’s against the church’s belies?

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Not at all. Being gay is a sin. Why should the church have to go against their beliefs?

(4)(17)

Trumpenkreig

A sin according to who? You? It’s 2018, get with the times.

(9)(2)

Anonymous

woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)

(4)(9)

Anonymous

A sin according to the bible trumpy. You know, the place where you usually find what is a sin

(1)(4)

Anonymous

If ‘diversity’ doesn’t cut both ways, it’s just discrimination wrapped up in a pretty LGBTQ bow

(5)(1)

Anonymous

“historically patriarchal nature”? This must be the most pretentious justification for a case ever taken to law.

Even if this couple get what they want they will no doubt agonise over whether they can accept the judgment of the courts, an institution more ‘historically patriarchal’ than just about any other.

(11)(2)

Junior Barrister

This is a regrettable case. It provides an easy example of a wholly pointless human rights dispute. It gives a bad name to the entire field, and plays into the hands of people who hate lawyers. It’s the human rights equivalent of the question “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” The appellants are simply embarrassing themselves. It is somewhat horrifying that public funds are being used to deal with this “dispute”. Compared to the other cases heard by the Supreme Court – which often involve decisions of monumental importance for the affected litigants – this is just a sad joke.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

I think the entire field has had a bad name for a long time now – judges playing politics and holier-than-thou lawyers milking the public purse.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Who is paying for this ?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

You are

Feel enriched

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Legal aid ?

(0)(0)

equalchoiceforall

I hope you are not a junior barrister as you have displayed a complete lack of integrity. My partner and I have both been married before and do not want to repeat it, we have been partners for over 25 years but need to legalise our partnership between two equals for legal reasons, inheritance and pension rights purposes. I do not want to be a wife, or have to make vows or have any aspect of religion involved, we are two equal partners and should be able to choose a civil arrangement as they do in France, and as can homosexuels in Britain. Why are the responses here so vicious and cynical? I don’t understand what problem a civil partnership could possibly cause anyone.

(17)(6)

Doubting Thomas

I agree with you, but I don’t think the Junior Barrister has shown a lack of integrity here. How is it dishonest or lacking in moral principles to hold the view that is contrary to yours?

(7)(0)

BPTC student

“I wanna!!! I wanna!!! I wanna!!! Aaaaa!!!!”

(1)(0)

Anonymous

“…as you have displayed a complete lack of integrity.”

Yeah, I don’t think you know what means…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I feel people are not seeing why this is completely offensive to gay people. Civil Partnerships were created because gay couples were not seen as equal to straight couples who could marry. Our relationships were viewed as inferior and not deserving of Marriage. In no way does this discriminate heterosexual couples, this couple are clearly just trying to prove a point and I find it hurtful. We should abolish future Civil partnerships all together in my opinion.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I think it’s marriage that should be abolished. The only difference between a civil partnership and marriage is that the latter is seen ‘in the eyes of God’.

I find it paradoxical that some people, who are so staunchly atheist, fantasise about the details of their wedding from a very young age. It’s a religious ceremony. In the current day and age, isn’t a civil partnership a much more progressive way for two people to legally and emotionally commit to one another?

For me, the patriarchal aspect of marriage is a side point to the very burning issue that no one is actually religious these days and therefore shouldn’t be taking part in a religious ceremony.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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