A decision made by the supreme court has ruled that employers exclude same-sex couples from spousal benefits, such as pension funds will be breaking the law. The ruling was unanimous and overruled a current exemption in the Equality Act of 2010 which had allowed this to go on.
The case was fought by John Walker who won the legal battle to get an equal pension for him and his husband. But the case has now been hailed as a landmark victory for all same sex couples across the country.
After the victory John Walker said:
“[I]t 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. In the years since we started this legal challenge, how many people have spent their final days uncertain about whether their loved one would be looked after? How many people have been left unprovided for, having already suffered the loss of their partner?
“What I would like from Theresa May and her ministers today is a formal commitment that this change will stay on the statute books after Brexit.”
The judgement finds the exemption to be discriminatory against gay and lesbian employees and that non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is now a main principle of EU law. The Loop hole in the law was found to be discriminatory and should be immediately disapplied.
Currently, the EU have the power to disapply a national law, when it conflicts with the EU law – however, this is set to change when the UK leaves the EU.
LGBTQ campaigners are pressing the government for confirmation that there will be no rollback on LGBT rights after Brexit. And this change should remain in the law post-Brexit.
How do you become eligible for spousal benefit?
If one partner has earned significantly less than the other, then it makes them eligible to receive some of their partner’s credits under social security.
You must be above 62 to file for spousal benefit, and your partner must have filed for benefit before you do.
Taking spousal benefit does not change how much your partner will receive.
If you wish to speak to any of our team regarding family law, spousal benefit or discrimination law then don’t hesitate to contact us by calling or emailing.