Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
by Rex Wockner
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice slapped the city of Hamburg, Germany, on May 10 for paying smaller pensions to same-sex registered partners than to married people.
Retired city employee Juergen Roemer claimed that his reduced pension violated European Union anti-discrimination law, and the court agreed.
Roemer’s case now returns to German courts, which will be expected to issue a decision in accord with European law.
The Euro court said that provisions of European law “preclude a provision of national law … under which a pensioner who has entered into a registered life partnership receives a supplementary retirement pension lower than that granted to a married, not permanently separated, pensioner, if in the Member State concerned, marriage is reserved to persons of different gender and exists alongside a registered life partnership … which is reserved to persons of the same gender, and there is direct discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation because, under national law, that life partner is in a legal and factual situation comparable to that of a married person as regards that pension.”
The ruling is applicable to any EU nation where marriages and civil unions are legally similar.
Austrian activist Helmut Graupner, who was involved in the case, called the determination “groundbreaking.”
“If a member state … has a registered partnership putting same-sex couples into a legal position comparable to married couples, exclusion from marriage benefits constitutes direct discrimination,” he said.
Martin K.I. Christensen, board co-chair of the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said: “We welcome the Court of Justice of the European Union’s judgment as its reaffirmation of equal treatment of married different-sex partners and registered same-sex partners in the area regulated by the EU Employment Framework Directive. We also welcome that the court 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.”