It is probable that when the British government sanctioned
marriage for same sex partners and enshrined the decision in the
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 they undoubtedly thought
they had squared the circle of discrimination as far as equality
for all life partnerships was concerned.
However that was not to be as, since Rebecca Steinfield and
Charles Keidan first decided that they would prefer to have a civil
partnership rather than get married and found that they were
promptly knocked back, they have been campaigning ever since to
challenge the decision that they do not meet the requisite legal
requirement to enable them to have a civil partnership, that of
being the same sex.
The couple lost their appeal yesterday at the High Court where
they contended that they were subject to discrimination and state
that they intend to appeal. The government welcomed the
decision on the basis that "the current regime of marriage and
civil partnership does not disadvantage opposite sex
Furthermore, it is felt that now that same sex couples can marry
it is likely that civil partnerships will fade away and eventually
be phased out at some stage in the future and to amend that
legislation at this stage would be an unnecessary expense,
particularly as no decision has yet been made regarding civil
partnerships as the government is keen to see what impact, if any,
same sex marriage has on civil partnerships.
Ms. Steinfield and Mr. Keidan however, are keen to carry on with
their campaign as they feel that civil partnership focuses on
equality whereas, in their eyes, marriage is less so bringing with
it patriarchal history. The couple further argue that whilst
gay couples have a choice of the type of partnership they wish to
embrace, opposite sex couples do not and by that token they are
being discriminated against. Also it was felt by them that
their right to a private and family life was
compromised. The government countered that the
historical status of marriage was entirely democratic and
encompassed traditional values of family life.
In light of the strong feelings that Ms. Steinfield and Mr.
Keidan have in this respect it is surprising that they have not
availed themselves of the facilities that the Isle of Man affords,
being the only place in the British Isles that permits opposite sex
civil partnership. Martin Loat and Claire Beale did and are the
first heterosexual couple in the UK to have a civil partnership.
The Ealing couple flew to the Isle of Man on October 21 to seal
their 25 year relationship in a civil partnership, which brings
with it all the legal responsibilities and entitlements to their
relationship and children. It seems that early on in their
relationship they made the decision not to marry for much the same
reason as Rebecca Steinfield and Martn Keidan, too much patriarchal
history. They too would like to see the legal status of civil
partnership amended to include opposite sex couples,
notwithstanding the fact that they found a satisfactory way round
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The well documented case of Heather Ilott and her attempt to overturn her Mother's will appears to have come to an end with the Supreme Court ruling that, whilst she may have be granted some money from her Mother's estate, it is a far smaller sum than the Court of Appeal awarded.
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