Today was the third and final day of debate on the House of Lords over the UK’s marriage equality bill for England and Wales. Pink News live-blogged the debate here.
Labour peer Lord Alli’s amendment to equalise pension provision for same-sex couples in the area of survivor benefits has been withdrawn… The bill in its current form will allow pension providers to discriminate against gay married couples as well as those in civil partnerships, by ensuring they receive far less survivor benefits than their straight counterparts. The government has warned reforming the system would be too expensive.
If it’s right, it’s right – expense shouldn’t matter. Providing pension benefits for straight couples is expensive too…
And Baroness Deech pushed an amendment to allow sisters and other cohabitating couples to enter into civil partnerships, though it was later withdrawn:
“Civil partners and married couples, gay or straight, will be treated in law far better than, for example, two elderly sisters who share a house or an elderly father and the daughter who cares for him.” Baroness Deech’s amendment was withdrawn during committee stage, but she warned of a challenge from the European Court of Human Rights, and said she would revisit the idea at the bill’s third reading. She predicted that, taking into account same-sex couples being allowed to marry, “my bet is that a discrimination case before the European Court of Human Rights would probably succeed because the Convention prohibits discrimination by birth.”
What comes next? Anyone over there know?