UNFINISHED BUSINESS

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Conference
2013 National LGBT Conference
Date
2 August 2013
Decision

Conference celebrates the passing into law of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 as being yet another landmark on the road to full equality for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. However, Conference recognises that there are three items of unfinished business contained in the Act.

Section 15 has instituted a review of the Civil Partnership Act. Conference notes that previous National LGBT Conferences and UNISON National Delegate Conferences vihave called for the extension of civil partnerships to opposite sex couples in the name of equality.

Section 14 has instituted a consultation as to whether belief organisations – such as the Humanist Organisation – should be allowed to solemnize marriages. Conference believes in the right of all LGBT persons to celebrate their love and partnership in the manner of their choosing and would welcome the introduction of the right of members of belief organisation to have a marriage according to the usages of their belief.

Both of the above reviews are to be the subjects of full public consultation.

Section 16 compels the Secretary of State to conduct a review of survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes. This is to address the current disparity in occupational pension schemes between the survivor benefits awarded to the survivor of opposite and same sex unions. Conference congratulates both the National LGBT Committee and UNISON for the campaigning work on this issue they have already carried out, and their success in forcing the Coalition government to accept this review as part of the Act. Conference endorses the National LGBT Committee’s actions so far and urges it to continue to campaign for equal pension rights in marriage or civil partnerships for same sex couples.

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

• Continue to work within UNISON, and through the Labour Link to make representations to the Secretary of State for equality in benefits under occupational pension schemes for surviving partners of both same sex and opposite sex marriages or civil partnerships.

• Campaign for full equality, including making submissions to the public consultations, in respect of the retention and extension of civil partnerships to opposite sex couples

• Campaign, including making submissions to the public consultation, for the rights of belief organisations to conduct marriages