Man becomes Australia’s first recognised gay war widow after 10 year struggle

Sydney pensioner Edward Young has won a decade-long legal battle to receive his deceased partner’s pension.

Mr Young’s partner of 38 years Larry Cains served with the Australian Army in Borneo during World War II, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

When Mr Cains died 10 years ago, Mr Young applied for a pension.

As the Veteran’s Entitlement Act was only available for heterosexual couples, Mr Young’s application was denied.

He took the case to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr Young told the Sydney Morning Herald:

“I didn’t really need the pension.

“What I wanted was to take on the little man, [the former prime minister John] Howard, and fight.

“I wanted a decision that wouldn’t just apply to my own circumstances.

“What I wanted was something that would apply right across the board.

“I wanted something that would say that, yes, there was discrimination and it didn’t just apply to me.

“It applied to all facets of our law.”

Although in September 2003 the UN ruled that Australia was in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that Mr Young was entitled to the pension, the government delayed reviewing the case until November 2007.

In November 2008, however, the Australian government passed laws allowing gay partners of soldiers to claim pensions, and Mr Young’s claim was finally allowed.

He said: “The laws have been changed; we’ve won now. I’ve been waiting 10 years.”