John Walker is going to the Supreme Court to call for his husband to get the same pension benefits that a wife would get.
The 65 -year-old is fighting what he calls an “absurd” legal exemption which means that, in the event of his death, his partner is entitled to survivor benefits only from December 2005.
Mr Walker 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.
He was paying into a company scheme for 20 years and has argued that his husband should have the same pension rights a wife would enjoy if he was in a heterosexual relationship.
If he was married to a woman she would be entitled to receive about £45,000 a year for life. Under current law, Walker’s husband, 52, would receive about £1,000 a year, his lawyer said.
Martin Chamberlain QC, representing Walker, told the court: “This is direct discrimination. They have chosen to treat Mr Walker’s partner less favourably than that of a heterosexual married man.
“The marriage does not have to have taken place during the period of service. The only thing that matters is that the person claiming pension at the time of death [of the retired employee] is the spouse.”
Commenting before the hearing, Walker said: “The government should be ashamed that, in 2017, I and so many others are being forced to live with the worry that our loved ones won’t be provided for when we’re gone, solely because of our sexuality.
“My husband and I have been together for 24 years. During that time, I also gave more than two decades of my life to Innospec, paying in exactly the same amount into the company pension fund as my heterosexual colleagues. How can it be right that my husband will get practically nothing but, if I were to divorce him and marry the very first woman I see, she would be immediately entitled to the full spousal pension? It’s not just unfair – it’s absurd.”
On Wednesday, he began a two day hearing at the Supreme Court in a last attempt to change the rules.
Photo Credit: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire