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Law Not Enough for Civil Partnerships

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Leading family law experts have warned that a call for civil partnerships for heterosexual couples shows that the law is not doing enough for people who live together.

Family Law Group comments that society is beginning to demand legal changes, which will see more flexibility for couples who are committed to living together.

“It appears that the law we currently have in place is not serving the public in a way that satisfies society,” said Simon Leach, of Family Law Group.

Civil Partnerships

His statement comes soon after a survey showing that nearly three in five people in Britain believe that civil partnerships should be open to all couples.

The research carried out by survey organisation Populus showed that 57 per cent of people surveyed believe that all couples should be allowed the right to obtain a civil partnership. 

Currently, same-sex couples can get married or enter into a civil partnership but mixed-sex couples can only get married.

However, in February 2017, the Court of Appeal in England ruled that the current situation cannot continue as couples are being treated differently.

This means that the government will now have to decide on the future for civil partnerships, with some people believing the government should now make civil partnerships available to all. However, others think they should be removed completely, so that marriage is the only option.

The survey also showed that 20 per cent of people believe civil partnerships should be removed altogether, whilst 24 per cent said that they did not know or did not mind what should happen.

“It was the case that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, which would extend the availability of civil partnership to opposite-sex couples, was due to have its second reading in May 2017, but Parliament was dissolved on 3 May 2017, preventing this from happening,” said Simon Leach. 

Earlier this year, heterosexual couple Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, from London lost their Court of Appeal battle to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage.

They had challenged a ruling that said they did not meet the legal requirement of being the same sex. However, judges said there was a potential breach of their human rights, but that the government should have more time to decide the future of civil partnership. They now intend to appeal to the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land.

“All the evidence points to a new legal system where civil partnerships are available for all,” said Simon Leach. “The law moves slowly, but it seems the majority will ensure that this happens and many will rejoice when it does,” he added.