Marriage Equality:EU Backs Pension Rights

For those who do not believe that marriage equality is important, my hope is that you live long enough to be thinking about retirement and pension rights. As we age or as even young people become unable to work because of illness or disability thoughts inevitably turn to “how will we survive economically?”

European nations generally provide superior social benefits to all their people than the US does. Start with lifelong health care. Sure people pay for the benefits in taxes but taxes are more genuinely equitable across the spectrum of wealth. There is a genuine sense of creating a common wealth and providing safety nets. Pension benefits are next.

European nations like Belgium and the Netherlands led the way by providing LGBT citizens with opportunities for marriage equality. Spain, a preponderantly Catholic country, followed by approving gay marriage and reaffirming it in the reelection of the government that granted the right.

Nine other countries, including Germany, offer legal partnerships that grant the same rights as marriage. On March 31st, the European Court of Justice ruled that a German man has a right to his same-sex partner’s pension. The EU Court of Justice is inching the cause of equality closer to true equity. At the same time, the court is cutting through the nuanced compromises that we have had to make in achieving our rights: legal partnerships, domestic partnerships, civil unions.

The BBC in reporting on this landmark legal victory noted:

Although German law considers only heterosexual unions as marriage, the ruling makes it clear that any country in the EU that gives same-sex couples rights equivalent to marriage should treat the two as comparable.

As in Massachusetts where the Supreme Judicial Court had the guts to say civil unions are not equal, so in Europe another court is cutting through the charade.

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