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The Supreme Court has recently ruled that restricting civil partnerships to same sex couples is discriminatory, and a breach of an individual’s Human Rights.

At present, heterosexual couples may only marry, while same-sex couples can either marry or take up a civil partnership.

The case which has brought this to light is that of R (on the application of Steinfeld and Keiden) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the International Development (in substitution for the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary) (Respondent).

With a unanimous Supreme Court victory, civil partnerships between heterosexual couples may now be recognised within the UK. Currently, the only jurisdiction in the British Isles that permits opposite-sex civil partnerships is the Isle of Man. Some couples have travelled there for ceremonies, but the unions have not previously been recognised in the UK.

Other countries such as South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands allow couples to choose either civil partnership or marriage. In the Netherlands last year there were 64,400 Marriages and 17,900 civil partnerships, suggesting there is demand for both arrangements.

Discussions are taking place with the Home Office minister in respect of this matter, and a private member’s bill has been submitted, which has Government support, and commits ministers to carrying out an investigation into different civil partnerships.

To discuss Civil Partnerships and Matrimonial Law please call our family helpline on 08000 147720, send us an email or text LAW to 67777 to book a free information session at any of our offices. We also offer early morning and late evening appointments across our offices.