John Walker has won a landmark ruling which if implemented will give his husband the same pension rights as a wife would receive.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that if John Walker dies, his husband is entitled to a spouse’s pension, provided that they remain married. The ex-chemical company worker said it would “drag” the government “into the 21st Century”, while human rights group Liberty said “thousands” could benefit.
A government spokesman said it would review the implications of the ruling.
The decision will effect the entitlement of thousands of civil partners and spouses in same sex marriages, who will now enjoy the same pension rights and entitlements as people in a heterosexual marriage.
For example, Mr Walker’s husband would be entitled to a spousal pension of about £45,000 a year in the event of Mr Walker’s death, rather than around £1,000 a year he would currently expect.
Your Activist first campaigned for pensions equality more than fifteen years ago.
Former cavalry officer John Walker, who is fighting to win his husband equal pension rights, has taken his case to the Supreme Court hoping for a decision which could “dramatically change the lives of thousands of same-sex couples”. He wants five high court justices to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling in 2015 which went against him.
Appeal judges had decided his claim failed because it applied to a period before gay civil partnerships were recognised by the law.
Mr Walker, who was paying into a company scheme for 20 years, argues that his husband should have the same pension rights a wife would enjoy if he was in a heterosexual relationship. He has been making the same contributions to the pension scheme as his heterosexual colleagues and wants to ensure that, should he die first, his husband will be adequately provided for.
Your Activist pointed out this anomaly at the time the civil partnership laws were being drafted, and was ignored.