Are you a heterosexual couple wanting to become Civil Partners? Then read on:- Many heterosexual couples feel they do not wish to be married to each other. However, there are so many known risks and dangers for cohabiting couples in terms of the lack of legal protection afforded to them (whether they remain together or separate), which will lead to the vulnerability of at least one party to the relationship, that there is now a movement aimed at recognising the ‘rights’ of heterosexual couples. This position has been highlighted in February 2017 by a couple called Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan. They had been in a relationship for three years when they decided they wanted to make it official. They were very keen to commit to one another, but did not wish to have a traditional engagement or the man getting down on one knee; and they absolutely did not want to marry each other and have all the ‘fuss and fanfare’ of a wedding. Having given a lot of thought to their situation, the couple decided they wanted a Civil Partnership, which they felt offered the same legal protections as a marriage, in terms of property rights and so forth and exemptions from inheritance tax. Sadly for them, they were very concerned to discover the reality, which is that Civil Partnerships (which confer on parties the same rights as married couples) are presently only available for same sex couples. Ms Steinfield and Mr Keidan decided they would launch a legal battle against the Government, arguing they were being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. After four years and thousands of pounds in legal costs, their case was rejected last week by the Court of Appeal. The Judges, while recognising there was a potential breach of their human rights, nevertheless considered the Government needed further time to reflect and decide upon the future of Civil Partnerships. The couple are reported to be hoping the Government will decide to introduce Civil Partnerships for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, so that the existing law relating only to same sex couples will be applied for all couples.

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