A woman with mental health difficulties had lived with her female partner, in a stable relationship, for a number of years. With the possibility of needing hospital treatment for her illness in the future, the woman’s local council had on record that her mother was her “nearest relative”. This meant her mother had the power to make decisions on her daughter’s behalf if she were ever to be detained under the Mental Health Act. The woman didn’t have a good relationship with her mother so she asked her local council to change her “nearest relative” to her partner, but the council refused. The woman challenged this decision using her human right to private life. The court decided that a same-sex partner should have the same rights as any unmarried heterosexual partner and to deny this would be discrimination.
Respecting a same-sex partner’s choice and privacy