Supreme Court says civil partnerships must be extended

A HETEROSEXUAL couple will have a civil partnership after the Supreme Court found that the current law was incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.

Prior to the ruling, same-sex couples wishing to formalise their relationship had a choice as to whether to enter intoa civil partnership or to marry, though this choice was not available to different-sex couples.

The appellants, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, are in a long-term relationship which they want to formalise, though the couple have an ideological objection to marriage based on what they consider to beits historically patriarchal nature. They consider a civil partnership to reflect their values and give due recognition to the equal nature of their relationship.

However Ciarán Kelly, deputy director for The Christian Institute said the ruling ‘is yet another fundamental attack on marriage from a court system that seems determined to do all it can to undermine it’.

“The couple who brought this case objected to what they called the ‘sexist trappings’ of marriage. But that is to fundamentally misrepresent what marriage is about,” he said.

“Marriage – with its public promises of lifelong faithfulness – is the gold standard of commitment. It is beneficial for the individuals involved and for society as a whole. With this ruling the court has given its backing to ‘marriage lite’ – all the benefits of marriage but without the responsibilities,” he added.

He said that ‘time would have been better spent resolving the genuine injustice suffered by huge numbers of other house-sharers who are excluded from civil partnerships and can get hit with an enormous inheritance tax bill’.

“A daughter living with her elderly mother, a grandson living with his infirm grandfather, a friend who looks after a disabled person on a long-term basis – these are the injustices that ought to be addressed,” he added.

Director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, recently outlined the Church’s stance on civil partnerships: “We believe that Civil Partnerships still have a place, including for some Christian LGBTI couples who see them as a way of gaining legal recognition of their relationship.”