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Heterosexual Couple Lose Civil Partnership Case

A heterosexual couple have lost their legal battle to be allowed to enter into a civil partnership. Rebecca Steinfeld, 34, and Charles Keidan, 39, are both academics who live in Hammersmith, west London and are engaged and have been in a relationship for over five years. The couple also have a young son together.

The couple feel that marriage is not an option for them as they view marriage as a patriarchal institution. The couple have launched a petition where they make it clear they would not feel comfortable gaining legal recognition of their relationship through marriage, ‘From a personal perspective, the legacy of marriage – that it treated women as property for centuries, excluded same-sex couples until 2014, and still leaves room only for fathers’ names on marriage certificates – means that marriage is not an option for us. We want to raise our child as equal partners and feel that a civil partnership – a modern, symmetrical institution – sets the best example for her.’

The couple also make reference to other countries that allow same sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, such as Holland and New Zealand.

Currently, the law only allows same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships. Steinfeld and Keidan challenged this on the basis that it infringed their Article 8 right to a private and family life. They argued that they were being denied the ability to gain legal recognition of their relationship.

The judge did not agree with the couple's claims and said, “just as the UK was under no obligation to extend marriage to same-sex couples, it has never been under an obligation to extend civil partnership to heterosexual couples. The denial of a further means of formal recognition which is open to same-sex couples does not amount to unlawful state interference with the claimants’ right to family life or private life, any more than the denial of marriage to same-sex couples did prior to the enactment of the 2013 act.”

However, the judge did give the couple permission to appeal, and they vow to continue their fight.


This generation is much less likely to marry than our parent or grandparent’s generation. Many people are opposed to marriage for the same reasons as Keidan and Steinfeld. Other couples move in together and never see any reason to bother getting married.

The reality is that more and more people are choosing to cohabit with a partner. Allowing all couples to enter into civil partnerships may offer a modern way to gain legal recognition and legal protections of our relationships.

Anyone who is in an unmarried cohabiting relationship is advised to secure a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a contract between cohabitant that clarifies who owns what and sets out what will happen if the couple separate. This can help to make a difficult time easier and can help to protect the property and interests of both parties.

Contact Cohabitation Lawyers Edinburgh

Contact our expert team today to discuss cohabitation agreements. Fill in our online enquiry form.

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