UK Court: ‘Same-sex spouse is not entitled to his husband’s full pension benefits’
The England and Wales Court of Appeal by a judgment ruled that a same-sex spouse is not entitled to his husband’s full pension benefits in the event of his death. John Walker worked for Innospec (retired in 2003), two years before same-sex civil partnerships were recognized in the UK. In the event of Walker’s death, his spouse would only be able to collect about £500 a year—less than 1 percent of the £41,000 a year to which a heterosexual spouse would be entitled. Walker challenged Innospec’s policy under Paragraph the Equality Act 2010 and the European Convention on Human Rights. The appeals court rejected this argument, finding that the laws did not have retroactive effects. One of the judges on the three judge panel stated “I can understand that Mr Walker and his husband will find this conclusion hard to accept. But changes in social attitudes, and the legislation that embodies those changes, cannot fully undo the effects of the past.” The government has estimated that if these laws were to have retroactive effect it would cost over £3bn.