The British Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a heterosexual couple who are looking to enter into a civil partnership.The unanimous ruling came after the couple, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, were denied the right to enter into a civil partnership.
The couple rejected marriage because of its "patriarchal nature," they said.
“There is an inequality of treatment between same-sex and heterosexual couples,” said the court, arguing that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 — which only applies to same-sex couples — is irreconcilable with article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which secures the right to respect private life.
Same-sex couples have been able to choose between marriage and civil partnerships since March 2014, which the heterosexual couple argued was discriminatory since they were only allowed to marry.
The judges declared that preventing heterosexual couples from entering into a civil partnership was “discriminatory”.
“The interests of the community in denying civil partnerships to different-sex couples who do not wish to marry are unspecified, whereas the consequences of this denial for such couples may be far-reaching,” said the court.
The court’s ruling overturns a Court of Appeal's decision on the couple's case in February 2017.
It will also likely increase pressure on the government to change the law.
Like marriage, civil partnerships offer equal legal treatment in matters of inheritance, tax, and pensions.
The rules for dissolution of a civil partnership are the same as those for marriage.