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British court rejects couple’s bid for a legal civil partnership

Charles Keidan (R) and Rebecca Steinfeld (L) leave the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand on February 21, 2017 in London, England.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

A British couple who want their relationship recognized in law without the "patriarchal baggage" of marriage on Tuesday lost the latest stage in their fight to be allowed a civil partnership.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan say they and other couples face discrimination because only same-sex couples are eligible for civil partnerships.

The High Court ruled against them last year, and on Tuesday the Court of Appeal upheld the decision by a 2-1 margin.

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Since 2005, gay couples in Britain have been able to form civil partnerships, which give them the same legal protection, adoption and inheritance rights as heterosexual married partners. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2014.

The couple's lawyer, Karon Monaghan, said Steinfeld and Keidan wanted "to enter into a legally regulated relationship which does not carry with it patriarchal baggage, which many consider comes with the institution of marriage."

The government says it wants to see the impact of gay marriage on civil partnerships before deciding whether to extend them to everyone, abolish them or phase them out. The three appeals judges agreed the situation was discriminatory, but two of the three said the government should be given more time to decide on the future of civil partnerships.

Steinfeld said that although the couple lost, "all three judges agree that we are being treated differently because of our sexual orientation."

Keidan said they would appeal to the Supreme Court unless the government agrees to change the law.

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