Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan say they will take their case to the Supreme Court

A heterosexual couple’s wish to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage has been egistryejected by the Court of Appeal.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, from London, were challenging the ruling that set out they did not meet the legal requirement of being the same sex.

The judges said the Government should be allowed more time to decide on the future of civil partnerships.

Steinfeld, 35, and Keidan, 40, want legal recognition of their seven-year relationship but do not wish to marry. The couple said there was still “everything to fight for” and they intend to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Neil Addison, a lawyer who specialises in religious freedom said the decision was disappointing. He said: “I am disappointed by the court’s decision. Opening up civil partnerships might have encouraged co-habiting couples to sign one so as to protect their legal situation. Also for the Church it might have made sense to have a civil partnership signed in a register office followed by a church marriage ceremony. That would have recognised the fact that today the Church’s concept of marriage is very different to that of the State.

“Civil marriage today is in reality merely a legal relationship, in effect nothing more than a ‘civil partnership’ so opening up civil partnerships to everyone would have recognised the legal and social reality of relationships today.”