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Straight Couple Claims 'Discrimination' When Their Efforts to Make Things Official Are Blocked by British Law

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 25: Stephen Barker (C) participates in a rally in support of gay marriage March 25, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in two cases that could determine if states or the federal government can treat same-sex couples and those of the opposite sex differently when recognizing a marriage. The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that will legalize same-sex marriage in the state but it still has to be approved by the Illinois House and signed by Governor Pat Quinn, who has said he supports the legislation. If passed Illinois would become the tenth state to allow same-sex marriage. Thirty states have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Credit: Getty Images

A heterosexual couple in the U.K. that wishes to enter into a civil partnership rather than a marriage argued during a hearing Tuesday that the law discriminates against them based purely upon their sexual orientation.

Rebecca Steinfeld, 34, and Charles Keidan, 39, told officials that they have been in a committed relationship since 2010 and now have an 8-month-old baby, according to Telegraph. But rather than enter into a traditional marriage with one another, Steinfeld and Keidan feel that legal recognition for their relationship and personal values would be best served through a civil partnership — a status denied to them through Britain's previous laws stating that same-sex couples alone are eligible for civil partnerships.

“We’ve just had a baby and we want to cement and celebrate our relationship by forming a civil partnership but we can’t," Keidan and Steinfeld said, according to the Guardian. "We were both involved in the fight for same-sex marriage within our community, and it is fantastic social progress that couples can now marry, regardless of sexual orientation. We, however, want to raise our child as equal partners and believe that a civil partnership — a modern, symmetrical institution — best reflects our beliefs, and sets the best example for her.”

Keidan and Steinfeld have called themselves "feminists" and reject marriage as the remnants of a "patriarchal" institution, according to the Guardian. Their case for heterosexual civil partnerships in the U.K. also relies upon their perceived right to "family life" under the European Convention on Human Rights' Article 8. The couple's hearing is set to stretch over two days in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

A petition calling for the expansion of civil partnerships to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples has garnered more than 33,000 signatures thus far as the definition and purpose of marriage continue to be discussed alongside their moral, legal and philosophical concerns.

"This simple civil mechanism would recognise the claimants as legal partners with attendant legal rights, protections and responsibilities, whilst avoiding the patriarchal rituals and substance associated with marriage," said Karon Monaghan, a lawyer in the case, according to Telegraph.

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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