Open civil partnerships to all

£35,185 of £37k goal

Raised by 1,175 people in 21 months
Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld   Pembridge Ward, ENG
The option of a civil partnership is not open to us, nor to millions of other opposite-sex couples in the UK. Why?

Because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 states: ‘Two people are not eligible to register as civil partners of each other if … they are not of the same sex.’

This is direct discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation.

Now, same-sex couples can choose whether to have a civil partnership or marriage – a choice that should be celebrated as major social progress. The same principle of equality should apply to all couples, regardless of sex or sexual orientation.

There are almost 3 million long-term, opposite-sex cohabiting couples in the UK, a number that has doubled since 1996. Preventing these couples from accessing civil partnerships denies them protections under the law: no rights to ownership of each other’s property, no rights to inherit the other’s estate, and no rights to tax benefits provided to married couples. This lack of protection has a negative effect on families and family life, especially these couples’ estimated 1.9 million dependent children.

Many of these cohabiting couples want to express their love and formalise their relationships within a modern social institution that avoids the historical baggage, and social expectations, pressures and traditions surrounding marriage. Opening civil partnerships to all would enable them to do exactly that.

Our Story: We are one such long-term, opposite-sex cohabiting couple. When we sought to give ‘notice of intention’ to form a civil partnership in October 2014, we were refused by the Registrars. Not taking this discrimination lying down, we have launched a legal case against the UK government. It will be heard in the Court of Appeal on 2nd and 3rd November 2016. 

Now we need your help.

1.   Please contribute to our legal effort:

2. Please contribute to our campaign effort:

3.    Please sign and share our petition to ask the Minister for Women and Equalities to open civil partnerships to all:

Thank you for your support.

Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld


@charleskeidan & @beccasteinfeld
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Update 21
4 days ago
Thank you for your support of Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld's legal effort. If you wish to support the Campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships, please click here:
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Update 20
3 months ago
Civil Partnership Appeal Hearing Set for Autumn 2016

Dear supporters,

We’re excited to let you know that our challenge against the ban on opposite-sex couples’ access to civil partnerships will be heard in the Court of Appeal on 2nd and 3rd November 2016. Please put the date in your diaries!

You may recall that the High Court judgment earlier this year said that the ban was lawful. However, the same judge also said that many people would regard the situation as unfair and that, as the case “raises issues of wider public importance,” it deserves scrutiny by a higher court.

The fight for equal civil partnerships continues!

What you can do

1. Please contribute to our legal fund

Our costs are now more manageable thanks to all your support, as well as the commitment of our legal team. However, we still need to raise another £2,000 to cover our costs up to and including the appeal hearing, so please give whatever you can.

2. Please come together with thousands of others who wish to see civil partnerships available to all by joining the campaign, liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter @EqualCPs. You’ll be the first to hear our news and updates!

Thank you for your on-going support and encouragement. We’ll keep you posted.

Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld

#equalcivilpartnerships #equallove

@charleskeidan & @beccasteinfeld
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Update 19
5 months ago

Dear Supporters,

We are delighted to share with you the news that our legal team has now lodged our appeal against the decision in the Judicial Review.

We’re sorry it’s taken us a while to write. It’s been a tough couple of months, as you can imagine. And the decision to appeal was not an easy one. Whilst we believe the ruling was wrong – both legally and morally – we had to balance our commitment to changing the status quo with the financial and emotional cost for us of continuing the effort.

You have made this possible

The reason we’re continuing is in large part thanks to you. Over 67,000 of you have signed our petition, hundreds of you have sent messages of support, and many of you have also donated to our legal fund. This gives us not only a powerful public mandate to proceed, but also a shared responsibility to act. The judge herself said that “this case raises issues of wider public importance” that deserve scrutiny by a higher court. She also acknowledged that many would regard the continued ban on opposite-sex couples’ access to civil partnerships as unfair.

What happens now

Our lawyers anticipate that our appeal will be heard in the first half of 2017 by a panel of three judges. We have a new lead barrister, Sarah Hannett. Sarah is a rising star at Matrix Chambers and joins our solicitor, Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn. Sarah is herself in a same-sex civil partnership, and is personally committed to both retaining civil partnerships and extending them to all.

What you can do

Please help us to fund the costs of our appeal via our GoFundMe page here: We have tried very hard to keep legal costs to a minimum. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of our solicitor and barrister, as well as an independent foundation, the total burden is more manageable. But we still need £8,000 to cover legal costs through the appeal process.

Please give whatever you can.

Together we can keep the pressure on and ensure that civil partnerships are open to all.

Thank you for your on-going support,

Charles and Rebecca
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Update 18
7 months ago
High Court Ruling

Well things haven’t gone our way at the High Court today.

We’re deeply disappointed to share with you the news that our Judicial Review claim has not been successful. We know that you will share our disappointment.

The Judge ruled against us because she decided that our case did not fall within the ambit of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, a right to respect for one’s private and family life. The Judge also ruled that the Government is entitled to take its time to decide on the future of civil partnerships in order to avoid costs resulting from changing legislation too soon. The Judge did however acknowledge that there will be many people who sympathise with our view “that it is unfair that a route to state recognition of their relationship which is open to a same-sex couple…remains unavailable to them because they are heterosexual.” But this did not prove, in her judgement, to be sufficient grounds for a ruling in our favour.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, summed up our feelings better that we can at this moment. He said:

"This is a defeat for love and equality. It will be a huge disappointment to the thousands of heterosexual couples who would like to have a civil partnership. The court has rejected the principle that in a democratic society everyone should be equal before the law. It says that opposite-sex couples are not entitled to the same choices as same-sex ones. It cannot be right that same-sex couples have two options, civil partnerships and civil marriages; whereas opposite-sex partners have only one option, marriage. This legal case was always about the simple quest to end discrimination and ensure equality for all. I hope Charles and Rebecca will appeal and that justice will prevail in the end."

Whilst the High Court judgment is a setback, the fight for equal civil partnerships continues. Over 36,000 of us have already written to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan MP, asking her to open civil partnerships to all. We will continue pressing the Government to reconsider its position, and are buoyed by the fact that former Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton MP, has a Ten Minute Rule Bill scheduled to receive its second reading today. The Bill, which is backed by a large number of MPs from across the political spectrum, including Caroline Lucas, Andy Slaughter and Stephen Twigg, proposes to remove the clause limiting civil partnerships to same-sex couples. Please tweet or email your MP today to let them know why you care about this issue. You can send your MP a free letter here:

We are resolute in our conviction that civil partnerships should be available to all, regardless of sexual orientation: to ensure equal treatment under the law; to enable couples to celebrate and cement their relationships in a way that is right for them; and to ensure that the UK’s three million cohabiting couples can give their children the same level of security afforded to married parents.

We have lots to build on and this is just the start of the next chapter, not the end of the story. The issue is not going away.

We will now take a few weeks to digest the ruling, to talk to our legal team and campaign group and to decide on next steps. We will be in touch soon with actions that you can take to help us build on what we’ve all achieved so far. In the meantime, thank you for all your messages of support and for helping us come this far.

The work continues.

Rebecca and Charles
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£35,185 of £37k goal

Raised by 1,175 people in 21 months
Created December 1, 2014
Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld     Pembridge Ward, ENG
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