Employment & Benefits 12 Days of Christmas – Gender Equality and State Pensions
In the sixth day of our "12 Days of Christmas" series, we look back on a decision by the European Court of Justice in a case concerning gender equality issues in relation to State pensions.

 

Welcome to day 6 of our 12 days of Christmas series. Today we look back on a decision by the European Court of Justice in a case concerning gender equality issues in relation to State pensions.

What's love got to do with it? – UK law discriminatory for requiring transgender person to be unmarried to access State pension

In June 2018, we reported that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave judgment in the case of MB (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Respondent)(C-451/16). This case concerned a condition of UK law that required a married transgender person to annul her marriage in order to be legally recognised as her acquired gender and thereby access State pension benefits on the basis of that gender. 

Upon referral from the UK Supreme Court, the ECJ found that Member States have to comply with the principle of non-discrimination, despite the fact that legal recognition of a change in gender is within a Member State's own competency. The UK legislation in question was found to be discriminatory, as it accorded less favourable treatment directly based on sex to a person who changed gender after marrying than it accorded to a person who kept his or her birth gender and was married. 

Due to the fact that the State pension age in Ireland is equal for both sexes and same sex marriage is legalised the decision may have limited application here. Read our full original article here.

 

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