UK - Trade unions have vowed to "press ahead" with plans to sue the government over the pension rights of gay and lesbian workers, despite losing their case in the High Court.
The Trades Union Congress, which has the backing of seven of the UK’s largest unions, has decided to appeal the court’s decision.
The TUC’s claim relates to section 25 of the government’s Employment Equality Regulations 2003, which does not require firms to pay pension benefits to the partner of an unmarried worker.
The TUC argues that gay and lesbian couples are being indirectly discriminated against because they are not allowed to marry.
However, Justice Richards said TUC claims that the regulations reduced the level of protection on the basis of sexual discrimination seemed to “require a distorted view of their effect” and upheld their legality.
A TUC spokeswoman said: “The unions believe by allowing certain pension schemes to continue to discriminate in favour of married couples, the government is in breach of European law on sexual orientation.”
She added: “The unions will seek to win a fair deal for gay and lesbian workers in the Court of Appeal, and await the date of a new hearing.”
Sacker & Partners lawyer Zoe Lynch said: “The judge did not want to overturn the government’s legislative intention and he indicated he did not feel he was the appropriate forum for this case.”
She added: “He mentioned that if the case was to go higher, the European Court of Justice might be an appropriate forum.”
Wragge & Co partner and head of pensions Glyn Ryland said: “The chances of winning the appeal on this particular point of law are not good. However, in the medium-term same-sex marriages will be well recognised – it is the way things are moving.”
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