A weighty victory of a gay man for gay couple’s equal pension rights in Supreme Court of UK

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On July 12, 2017 the Supreme Court of United Kingdom has ruled in favour of a gay man’s case to secure his husband the same pension benefits a wife would receive.

Retired chemical company worker John Walker, 66, finally won his five-year legal battle against former employer Innospec, after it used a loophole to exclude same-sex partners from spousal benefits paid into pensions. However, this was ruled to be discriminatory and in breach of EU rules, with the landmark decision potentially impacting thousands of businesses and couples across the UK. Mr. Walker was very thrilled with the decision and commented it was a big victory of fairness and decency. He also added: “But it is to our government’s great shame that it has taken so many years, huge amounts of taxpayers’ money and the UK’s highest court to drag them into the 21st century.”

John Walker retired from Innospec in 2003, having worked at the company for more than 20 years, making the same contributions to its pension scheme as his heterosexual colleagues.

However, an exemption in the Equality Act meant that, should he die, Innospec would not have had to pay his husband benefits for the money put into the company’s scheme prior to 2005.

This would have resulted in the husband receiving only a few hundred pounds a year, rather than the £45,000 he would have been provided with if he were a woman. So, as you can see, this victory made good sense for his family and gives the possibility for a couple to enjoy the rest of their lives together in abundance.

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