fight for gay pensions
BBC news online
The government is facing a union-backed legal
challenge over the pension rights of gay workers.
unions say new equality laws banning discrimination on the grounds of
sexual orientation, due in December, are not being implemented correctly.
say a loophole will allow pension schemes to continue offering benefits to
married couples only.
organisations will also continue to be able to bar gay, lesbian or
bisexual people from working for them, unions say.
company schemes confer pension rights for gay members, but most do not.
most cases, if one half of a gay couple dies their pension payments cannot
be transferred to the surviving partner.
and lesbian campaigners have long sought to change the rules.
far seven unions, including Amicus, and Unison, have signed up to the
want a judicial review into the law change - and have lodged papers with
the High Court.
are arguing that not only does the planned
the government says no such breach has been made.
(regulations) are entirely consistent with European Community law and the
Human Rights Act. They are a major step forward in combating
discrimination at work," the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)
said in a statement.
General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The Government's new sexual
orientation regulations as a whole will make a real difference to gay
people, giving them real legal protection at work for the first time.
"But it is unfortunate
that the government has decided to exempt those working for religious
organisations and wants to bar lesbians and gay men from receiving
benefits from certain pension schemes."