Gay man wins United Kingdom court battle for equal pension rights

Landmark Supreme Court ruling Married same-sex couples must have equal pension rights

Landmark Supreme Court ruling Married same-sex couples must have equal pension rights

He made the same contributions as his heterosexual colleagues.

Walker saw his case to allow his male partner to receive the same pension death benefits as a female would receive rejected by the Court of Appeal a year ago.

Now an exemption in the 2010 Equality Act allows companies in occupational pension schemes to limit pension benefits for surviving same sex spouses, to benefits accrued since 2005, when the Civil Partnership Act came in.

Walker has lived with his partner since 1993. Walker has since married his partner. It estimated the cost of equalising pension schemes and backdating pay-outs for same-sex couples could be as much as £3 billion.

Those benefits would not include all the contributions Mr Walker had made prior to 2005 - leaving his husband with a pension of about £1,000 a year.

"Part 5 of that Act prohibits direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the context of employment".

"The ruling results from the equality rights that come from the EU".

Five judges unanimously allowed Mr Walker's appeal against an earlier ruling against him. It therefore ruled that the exception in the Equality Act 2010 was not incompatible with the Framework Directive. An employment appeal tribunal and the court of appeal had previously declared that the 2010 Equality Act permitted firms to restrict benefits generated by periods of service before 2005.

Norton noted that as the ruling was made under EU law, it's unclear if and how it will stand when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, calling on the government to protect the decision. This would be calculated on all of Walker's years of service at Innospec.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) supported the company in the argument against Walker. It may also impose unexpected liabilities on pension funds.

This means that the husband of John Walker, an ex-cavalry officer who worked for chemicals company Innospec, will now be entitled to a full spouse's pension on his death, provided they remain married.

Mr Walker said: "I am absolutely thrilled at today's ruling, which is a victory for basic fairness and decency". "Finally, this absurd injustice has been consigned to the history books and my husband and I can now get on with enjoying the rest of our lives together, ' Walker told the media".

Emma Norton, Liberty lawyer acting for Mr Walker, said: "We are delighted the Supreme Court recognised this pernicious little provision for what it was - discrimination against gay people, pure and simple". "This ruling was made under European Union law and is a direct effect of the rights protection the European Union gives us". We now risk losing that protection. "The Government must promise that there will be no rollback on LGBT rights after Brexit".

A spokesman for the government said it would review the implications of the ruling.

"It ensures those in a same-sex marriage will now receive the equivalent rights in regard to their deceased partner's pension as a husband and wife would receive".

CNN has contacted Innospec for comment, but has received no immediate reaction.

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