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Civil partnership ruling ‘could change law’

Solicitors in the region are watching with interest after a major legal ruling saw a heterosexual couple given the right to enter into a civil partnership rather than a marriage.

This was previously only something same-sex couples could do, and the couple – who said they had ‘ideological objections’ to marriage – had argued this was not compatible with equality law.

The Supreme Court has now ruled the couple is being discriminated against, meaning the law may now be amended by the Government to allow other couples to take advantage of the ruling.

Lisa McLachlan, chartered legal executive in the Family & Divorce team at regional law firm Napthens, said she would be watching to see how the Government responds to the ruling, as it remains to be seen whether the law will be changed.

She explained: “In a same-sex relationship, couples have for some time been able to choose whether they would like to get married or enter into a civil partnership, both of which offer similar benefits and protections.

“However, there has been no such discretion for heterosexual couples, which was the issue for this couple, who were said to have strong reasons for not wanting to get married.

“This ruling will not change anything immediately, as for others in a similar situation to enter into a civil partnership there would need to be a change in the law which the Government has not yet committed to.

“I and many other family and divorce lawyers will be watching with interest to see how the situation evolves and what it could mean in future.”