Same-sex marriage bill does not grant equal pension rights

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The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons on 5 February 2013. Once the bill becomes law, it will be legally possible for same-sex couples to marry. However, the legislation does not grant same-sex married couples equal pension rights to male-female married couples. Instead, same-sex married couples are treated in the same way as civil partners, meaning that they are only required to be treated equally with male-female married couples in respect of pensionable service on or after 5 December 2005. Whether distinguishing between same-sex and male-female marriages in this way complies with EU law is open to question, particularly in the light of a recent Employment Tribunal decision…

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