Straight Notting Hill couple launch legal bid for civil partnership

A Notting Hill couple launched a legal challenge and petition this month against the ban on members of the opposite sex entering into a civil partnership.

Rebecca Steinfeld, 33, and Charles Keidan, 38, tried to hold their civil partnership ceremony in October at Chelsea Town Hall registry office, but were told it could not be provided.

Earlier this month lawyers for the couple responded by serving notice of their intention to launch a judicial review on Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.

Speaking on online petition site the couple said: “When we sought to give notice of intention to form a civil partnership at Chelsea Old Town Hall on October 1,we were refused by the registrars and told to leave the premises.

“The reason for this humiliating experience is The Civil Partnership Act 2004, which stipulates that only same-sex couples can enter into civil partnerships.”

The parents to be first met at a London School of Economics lecture in 2010 and got engaged last year.

They are believed to be the first UK couple to take the issue to the courts and they feel they have the backing of the public.

The couple said: “We know there is a clear public mandate for opening civil partnerships to all.

“The UK government’s consultation in 2012 found that more than 78,000 people were in support of the extension of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples – 61% of respondents.

“We want it to change, so we are calling on the Equalities Minister to open up civil partnerships to all, regardless of sexual orientation.”

The couple decided to formalise their commitment to each other last year while celebrating their third anniversary in the Pyrenees.

They wanted to express it in a way which would reflect their values and not include the ‘baggage’ they feel marriage brings.

They said: “We see ourselves as partners, so a civil partnership union would capture the essence of our relationship.

“We wished to be part of a modern social institution that formalises a relationship of equals and includes previously marginalised groups.

“Being civil partners would give us greater responsibilities and legal rights without the social expectations, pressures and outdated traditions that surround marriage.”

There is strong opposition to lifting the ban. Despite backing same sex marriages last year, David Cameron opposes civil partnership unions for heterosexual couples, believing the idea weakens marriage.

Related Articles