Civil Partnerships for Straight Couples? Judicial Review January 19 - 20th.
Civil partnerships have been legal in the United Kingdom for over ten years. In case you've forgotten our previous post, then 2005 was the year that Shane Ward won X-Factor; the year that Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles and MG Rover went into receivership.
It’s funny how time flies. Okay, it isn’t funny; it’s absolutely terrifying.
Civil partnerships are on the decline, and marriage is now the first choice for most gay couples. This isn't surprising, but it is interesting. Not least because civil partnerships have never been offered to heterosexual couples in the UK.
This could be about to change. Rebecca Steinfeld and her partner, Charles Keidan, are bringing a judicial review to London’s High Court where they’ll argue for a change to the law: they want heterosexuals to be allowed to have civil partnerships.
Failure to allow this, they argue, is a violation of the 1998 Human Rights Act.
An estimated 3 million cohabiting couples live in the UK with 1.8 million dependent children. Marriage is not for everyone, nor should it be, but without marriage these couples and families have only limited legal protection and entitlement. This can have consequences for inheritance, pension provisions and tax.
For example, unmarried couples do not share automatic parental responsibility for any children. In cohabiting couples, it will fall to the mother.
You can find out more about the rights of unmarried couples by visiting the Equal Civil Partnerships website, but it's enough to point out here that there is obviously a massive gap in the law.
This isn’t the case in other countries. For example, The Netherlands, France, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and Uruguay all offer civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.
One of the key messages in the campaign by Rebecca and Charles is'all equal before the law'. Clearly this isn't the case for everyone. The campaign has certainly made us realise that civil partnerships present an intelligent and conscientious solution to a modern trend.
We'll keep you updated on the case, and we'd like to wish Rebecca, Charles and their team all the best for next week.
Do you think civil partnerships should be made available to heterosexual couples? Drop us a message below or get it touch on Facebook and Twitter.