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Civil Partnerships for Opposite-Sex Couples Denied by the Court of Appeal

A couple from London have lost a Court of Appeal battle to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage. However, the ruling which said they did not meet the legal expectations of being the same sex still stood following the challenge.

There is a possibility that this was a breach of their human rights but the couple were still going to fight the ruling with an appeal being submitted to the Supreme Court.

Why would a civil partnership be chosen instead of marriage?

The government have a wait and see policy when it comes to looking at the numbers of the same sex civil partnerships but this was deemed to be unacceptable when it came to looking at the discrimination that heterosexual couples may face. However, judges are willing to give the government additional time and that is what caused the case to be lost.

Many believe that the institution of marriage is not completely equal as it depends on your religion but many felt that a civil partnership gave people a choice while some just want to have their relationship recognised.

At this moment in time, the government has decided that civil partnerships should not be extended to opposite sex couples but it has decided to see how extending marriage to same sex couples could affect civil partnerships.

The ruling could be a sign that love and equality have been defeated because it cannot be right that gay couples have the option of a civil partnership or civil marriage when same-sex couples only have one option which is to get married.

As a result of this decision, many people are now waiting for the government to shut the civil partnership loophole by making it accessible to everyone. A debate is due to take place where MP’s will discuss changing the law so that mixed-sex couples have access to a civil partnership with many MP’s believing that the government has no-excuse for making people wait.

This could be seen as an element of mistreatment towards same-sex couples and the support for civil partnerships to be available to all is growing as an online petition already has more than 70,000 signatures.

In England and Wales in 2014, The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was extended so that it included gay couples, making it possible for them to have a choice between a civil partnership and marriage. This resulted in the number of civil partnerships dropping by 85% from 2013 to 2015 as many chose to have a civil marriage instead.

Currently, the only place in the UK were gay and straight couples can access civil partnerships is the Isle of Man, although choosing this option will make the partnership unrecognised throughout the rest of the UK.

Author Bio K J Smith Solicitors are specialists in family law, with an expert team of family law professionals who are experienced in all aspects of family and divorce law.