A heterosexual British couple who want to enter into a civil partnership rather than marry have lost a challenge at the UK's High Court.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who are both academics and live in Hammersmith, west London, argued that they are being discriminated against.
Dr Steinfeld, 34, and Mr Keidan, 39, who have been in a committed relationship since November 2010 and have an eight-month-old baby, want to secure legal recognition of that relationship through a civil partnership.
But the Civil Partnership Act 2004 stipulates that only same-sex couples are eligible.
The couple claimed the British government's position on civil partnerships is "incompatible with equality law".
Mrs Justice Andrews, sitting in London, dismissed their judicial review action today, but gave them permission to take their case on to the British Court of Appeal because the case raised issues of "wider importance".
After the ruling, Dr Steinfeld said: "We made this claim because the UK Government is barring us, and many thousands of opposite-sex couples like us, from the choice of forming a civil partnership, and we want this to change."
She said: "We don't think there is sufficient justification for stopping us or other opposite-sex couples from forming civil partnerships.
"Unfortunately, the judge has concluded otherwise."
Dr Steinfeld, who was present in court with her partner to hear Mrs Justice Andrews announce her decision, said they wished to go to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judge's decision on behalf of themselves and more than 36,000 people who signed their petition "calling for civil partnership equality".
Mr Keidan said it was "now time for Parliament to demonstrate its commitment to creating a level playing field for all its citizens by opening up civil partnerships to same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike".