The face of marriage in Scotland, England and Wales changed in 2014 with the introduction of same sex marriage. Since then, same sex couples have had the option of entering either civil partnerships or marriage. Whilst the change was welcomed by many as bringing equality for same sex couples, others were concerned that it would result in inequality for heterosexual couples who cannot enter into civil partnerships.
That same year, a London-based heterosexual couple filed a judicial review at the High Court in London as they felt that they were being discriminated against based on their gender and sexual orientation by virtue of them not being allowed to enter into a civil partnership. Whilst the couple can marry, they felt that it is a patriarchal institution, arguing that in a democratic society any social institution should be open to all. They were of the view that a civil partnership would reflect their values and give due recognition to the equal nature of their relationship. By not allowing them to enter into a civil partnership, they claimed that this is incompatible with their human rights and is discrimination.
In early 2016, it was announced that the couple's legal challenge had failed at the High Court. The couple then appealed to the Court of Appeal, and the appeal was dismissed. They then appealed to the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, it was announced that the Supreme Court allowed the appeal. In the Judgement, the Supreme Court made a declaration that by precluding a heterosexual couple from entering into a civil partnership, this is incompatible with certain human rights. Here is the link to the Judgement.
So what will happen now that the Court has made a declaration of incompatibility? Well, it is now for Parliament to decide what to do about it. We will just have to wait and see...