Today the Supreme Court handed down a judgement which declared that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA) is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Under the CPA only two people of the same sex may enter into a civil partnership. In 2013 The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act (MSSCA) made the marriage of same-sex couples lawful but the CPA was not repealed meaning that same-sex couples had a choice of either getting married or entering into a civil partnership – a choice that is not available to different sex couples.
The application was made by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan who wish to formalise their long-term relationship but have an ideological objection to marriage, which they view as a patriarchal and outdated institution. The couple claimed the law was discriminatory and they sought a judicial review of the government’s decision not to make changes to the CPA to allow different sex couples to enter into a civil partnership.
The High Court and the Court of Appeal dismissed their claim but today the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and made a declaration that sections of the CPA that preclude a different-sex couple from entering into a civil partnership are incompatible with Article 14 (the prohibition on discrimination) together with Article 8 (the right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
This declaration does not oblige the government (or Parliament) do anything but it does place pressure on the government do something about the breach of human rights and change the law to give everyone the right to a civil partnership.
If you have any questions about how this case may affect your circumstances, contact a family law specialist at Rayden Solicitors today.