Lesbian and gay couples marry in England and Wales over the weekend

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UNISON pledged to keep on campaigning, as lesbian and gay couples marry in England and Wales over the weekend.

The first equal marriages took place on Saturday, but the union has stated that the campaigning is not over.

UNISON LGBT equality officer Carola Towle said: “We are still calling for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, for full equality in survivor pension benefits and for civil partnership to be opened up to mixed couples.

“We are also campaigning for an end to the spousal veto on gender recognition in England and Wales – we congratulate campaigners in Scotland for their victory on that.”

Last-minute amendments won on the Westminster bill forced the government to review survivor benefits and consult on the future of civil partnership.

Survivor benefits for same-sex spouses in private pension schemes only have to be based on contributions since 5 December 2005  although individual schemes can be more generous, explained Ms Towle.

UNISON head of pensions Glyn Jenkins and Ms Towle are attending a Treasury roundtable on Monday to put the union’s case for equality.

The consultation on the future of civil partnership runs till 17 April. UNISON’s response calls for civil partnership to continue and to be opened up to mixed-sex couples. The government says that there is no evidence that mixed couples want civil partnership.

Government consultation on civil partnerhsips

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance to explain the equality and human rights implications of same sex marriage for public authorities, the workplace and service delivery, religious organisations and school education.

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