A group of heterosexuals are fighting for the right to have civil partnerships available to them and not just to the LGBTQ community. Civil partnerships were introduced in the UK in 2004 to give same sex couples legal recognition and rights.
A few years after gay marriage was made legal in England and Wales. In January, a private members bill led by the Conservative MP Tim Loughton – and backed by MPs across the spectrum – will be debated in parliament which asks for 2004 Civil Partnerships Act to be amended to include heterosexual couples.
Charles Keiden and Rebecca Steinfield launched a petition to extend civil partnerships to heterosexuals and they amassed 75,000 signatures. The couple took their case to the High court stating that it was a violation of their human rights that heterosexuals were excluded from civil partnerships. They lost the case but have appealed and are now waiting to find out the verdict.
The couple told the Independent Newspaper that:
We have been together for over six years and have a 19-month old daughter. Like many others, we don’t feel that marriage is right for us. We see each other as partners in life and want to be recognised as partners in law – not as husband and wife. Civil partnerships already exist, they are a modern social institution giving almost identical rights as marriage, but without the baggage. They should be opened up to opposite-sex couples, so that everyone has the choice, it is basic fairness that everyone should be treated equally under the law.”
Another couple, Matt Hawkins and Clare Phipps also told the independent:
We want legal and financial protection and recognition for our relationship but marriage comes with so many cultural associations, traditions, and expectations that just don’t feel right for us. A civil partnership would give our relationship that protection and in a way that we feel more comfortable with. “
Martin Loat, 55, and Claire Beale have already had a civil ceremony that was held on the Isle of Man. Martin stated:
We don’t see the need to take vows (religious or civil) underwritten by God or the state to validate that we have a firm relationship. Marriages fail any way. A civil partnership sums up who we are. Claire doesn’t like being known as a “wife” and I don’t like marriage’s references to one’s private sexual activity with consummation and adultery being mentioned in marriage laws. That is up to us, not some cleric from the Middle Ages!”
It appears these couples are simply wanting recognition for their love and commitment to each other without the need for vows or taking the traditional heterosexual route of marriage. It will be interesting to see if the law is changed in the future to allow heteros the right to have a civil partnership and even more interesting to see how many couples will take these over the traditional institution of marriage.