London: A couple who went to Britain's highest court to win the right to legalise their relationship without getting married were among the first in the country on Tuesday to celebrate a change in marriage laws.
The change means that from the last day of 2019 men and women in Britain are able for the first time to join hands in civil partnerships as an alternative to getting married, the Xinhua news agency reported.
British media reported on Tuesday how Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan celebrated their civil partnership with a ceremony at the Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in London.
They won a legal battle in 2018 for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships, paving the way for today's change in the law. The couple took their fight to the Supreme Court, the highest court in Britain, forcing the law change.
Steinfeld told journalists it was their personal wish to form a civil partnership which came from a personal desire to formalise their relationship in a more modern way, with a focus in equality and mutual respect.
She said it creates new, modern possibilities for thousands of people to express their love and commitment and ends the unrivaled position of marriage.
The change means couples will be able to access the same tax benefits, pensions and inheritances as those available to married couples.
The government said thousands of civil ceremonies were taking place across England and Wales Tuesday as the new rules came into operation.
A spokesperson for the Government Equalities Office said: "Civil partnerships are not intended to compete with marriage but rather to provide an alternative option for those couples who do not wish to marry but want legal certainty and stability for their families."