Lord Alli amendment to equalise pensions in equal marriage bill withdrawn

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An amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill to equalise pension benefits provisions for same-sex couples in the area of survivor benefits, has been withdrawn.

Amendment 84A was withdrawn during heated debate on the second day of Report Stage for the bill in the House of Lords.

During debate, Lord Alli passionately defended the amendment, talking of the inequality of the current system, and saying that it would afford equal rights to a minority with little impact on anybody else.

“This is a tiny issue affecting a small amount a people at a terrible time of need,” going on to accuse the Government of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Baroness Howe chimed in, and noted the US Defense of Marriage Act, which was struck down recently, to say: “I can confidently say that this change in the law will mean the world to those it affects.”

She asked: “Isn’t this exactly the government’s commitment to securing real equality for gay people?”

Baroness Stowell asked Lord Alli to withdraw his amendment to equalise pensions, using as part of her argument that it would cost the public money, but saying that if it were withdrawn she would ensure pension equality would be looked at by the Government.

She said: “This debate demonstrates the need for us to be better informed. There are issues that need proper consideration… What I am going to do is discuss further with my ministerial colleagues.”

Lord Alli said that “there just is no public money,” denying that the amendment would cost money.

He says the cost is so minimal. “The actuary calculations,” he said, “will remain pretty static.”

The amendment was withdrawn following Lord Alli thanking those involved in drafting, and those in support of it.

Here is gay Conservative MP Mike Freer’s article for PinkNews about the inequality in private pensions for same-sex couples.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, also wrote for PinkNews about the inequality for pensions for gay couples.