Gay man wins UK court battle for equal pension rights

FILE - In this file photo dated March 8, 2017, ex-cavalry officer now retired John Walker, poses outside Britain's highest court in London. The Supreme Court ordered Wednesday July 12, 2017, that if John Walker died, his husband would be entitled to a spouse's pension, provided they stay married, ending their discrimination and securing the same occupational pension rights for a gay couple as a heterosexual couple. (David Mirzoeff/PA FILE via AP)

LONDON (AP) — A gay British retiree has won a legal battle to secure the same occupational pension rights for his husband that a wife would enjoy.

Five judges at the Supreme Court, Britain’s highest court, ruled that if John Walker died, his husband would be entitled to a spouse’s pension, provided they stay married.

The 66-year-old launched a discrimination lawsuit when the company he worked for said it would not pay out spouse benefits because his pension plan predated 2005, when gay civil partnerships became legally recognized.

The Court of Appeal ruled against Walker in 2015, but the Supreme Court overturned that decision Wednesday. The decision means that Walker’s partner will be entitled to spousal benefits of around 45,000 pounds ($57,800) a year — instead of about 1,000 pounds a year.