Sunday

23rd Jan 2022

Gay couples should enjoy equal pension rights, says EU court

  • Same pensions as heterosexual couples, says EU court (Photo: ILGA-Europe)

Members of same-sex civil partnerships should enjoy the same pension rights as heterosexual married couples, EU's top court said on Tuesday (10 May) in a ruling which sets an important precedent for the lesbian and gay community.

"A supplementary retirement pension paid to a partner in a civil partnership, which is lower than that granted in a marriage, may constitute discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation," which is banned under EU law, the Luxembourg-based court said in its ruling.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The case had been brought forward by Jurgen Romer, a German national who claimed he was discriminated against when his former employer, the City of Hamburg, refused to grant him a tax break available for married couples to his pension after he entered a civil partnership with his long-term partner.

EU judges found that Romer had been discriminated against under German law, as "the same obligations are incumbent on both registered life partners and married spouses," concluding that the two situations are "comparable."

Although it is non-binding, the ruling sets an important precedent for other EU member countries recognising civil partnerships or gay marriages, for instance France, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, where registered same-sex partners have mutual support obligations, but appear to be excluded from survivor's pensions.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden recognise gay marriage, whereas eleven other countries have legalised same-sex civil unions.

Martin Christensen from Europe's LGBTI umbrella organisation ILGA-Europe said that they welcome the verdict, as it "made it clear that as long as married or registered same-sex partners have legal duties towards supporting each other, they should be treated equally irrespective of specific differences between the institution of marriage and registered partnership."

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

LGBTI protection still lacking in EU

Despite some welcome advances, some legal rights for the LGBTI community are lacking in EU member states, and the rise of the populist right is making things worse, conference in Warsaw is told.

News in Brief

  1. 'No embargo' on meetings with Putin, EU says
  2. Austria to fine unvaccinated people €3,600
  3. MEP: Airlines should start paying for CO2 sooner
  4. Twitter forced to disclose what it does to tackle hate speech
  5. EU watchdog calls for ban on political microtargeting
  6. MEPs adopt position on Digital Service Act
  7. Blinken delivers stark warning to Russia in Berlin
  8. Hungary's Orbán to discuss nuclear project with Putin

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Latest News

  1. Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules
  2. MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter
  3. EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines
  4. Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures
  5. Macron promises strong EU borders
  6. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  7. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  8. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us