The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that The Equality Act 2010 should not prevent same sex couples benefiting from pension funds. Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. The case was brought by John Walker against his former employer Innospec. They relied on the Act to prevent Mr Walker’s husband from inheriting his pension should he die.
The ruling is said to open thousands of new claims against pension companies. Concerns were raised by the DWP that the cost to both the Public and Private sector would be many millions. However, in a country where human rights are at the forefront of our minds shouldn’t there be equality?
It was clearly stated in the ruling by Lord Kerr that provisions in the Equality Act 2010 are “incompatible with EU Laws” and needed to be changed. The EU directive specifically prohibits such discrimination.
As a consequence, should Mr Walker die his husband will have the exact same pensions rights as a heterosexual couple would in the same situation. The ruling applies to pensions created prior to 2005. This is a step in the right direction.