Britain might be heading for the exit door, but European Union law was instrumental in securing a win on LGBT rights today.
The UK’s Supreme Court ruled this morning that married gay couples are entitled to equal pension rights, closing a decade-old inequality that has led to gay couples being short-changed hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The inequality in pensions law, defended by successive governments, had allowed spousal pensions to be paid to gay people at a far lower rate than for heterosexuals – by allowing employers to exclude same-sex partners from accrued benefits paid into funds before civil partnerships became law.
Change was sealed today thanks to the Supreme Court decision, but legal experts noted the ruling was predicated on the EU Framework Directive to counter discrimination. The victory being based on EU law is quite ironic, as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. Alastair Meeks, pensions partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “The Supreme Court used principles of EU law to strike down UK statute.
“In these days of Brexit, that will attract attention. It is unlikely in practice that post-Brexit any government would seek to reverse this decision, even if it could. But it does suggest that the law might develop very differently from how it would otherwise develop once Britain has left the EU. Social changes might well take considerably longer to work their way through into legal consequences.” Read more via Pink News