Can I read the e-mail so the Minister will know what it relates to? It is quite short. It is from a man who signs off as "Pension Equality". It states:
I wonder would you be good enough to propose an amendment to the Marriage Bill at the Select Committee stage in relation to the block which Section 81E (5) and (6) of the Pension Act places on anyone, retired, more than one year from bringing a claim for pension equality.
It affects LGBTI people, straight people, and children.
The time limit, besides being arbitrary (unlike other provisions it does not run from the date of the discrimination e.g. the refusal of the pension) is also contrary to EU Law which does not allow a time limit in national legislation which makes access to the relevant Court or Tribunal impossible as this one does for anyone claiming a pension benefit which only came into existence years after their retirement.
It goes on to state:
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has relied on this time limit to have a claim to the Equality Tribunal rejected in March 2015. The State’s reliance on something which is self-evidently illegal as well as unjust is in marked contrast to its self congratulations about Same Sex Marriage. It is also an unfortunate example of an attitude which is regularly condemned harshly by the Supreme Court and the High Court and widely reported in the media, where the State in ligation against it, seeks to delay and defend the indefensible.
We are urging you to propose an amendment to the Marriage Bill in the terms below, which would deal with the matter. The Marriage Bill is amending many pieces of disparate legislation and this is in fact quite a simple amendment. It would be a great pity to launch marriage equality and at the same time bar retired LGBTI people from the Equality Tribunal if they are wrongly refused a pension for a spouse.
He has given me suggested wordings in this regard and I can submit them on Report Stage.