Trinity lecturer loses discrimination case at European Court of Justice

David Parris claimed he was discriminated against over his pension

Trinity lecturer loses discrimination case at European Court of Justice

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A lecturer from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has lost his case for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the European Court of Justice.

Dr David Parris had argued that he was discriminated against because his civil partner would not be entitled to his pension - as the union did not take place before Mr Parris turned 60.

Under the pension scheme, a person's spouse or civil partner is to receive a pension for life equal to two-thirds of the amount payable to the member before his death, where the member dies before the spouse or civil partner.

However, that right exists only if the marriage or partnership is entered into before the member reached 60, or before he retired, whichever is earlier.

In the case of a later marriage or partnership, the surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled only to a reduced pension for a period of five years - and even then, only if the death occurs within five years from the date of the member's retirement.

Dr Parris entered into a civil partnership at the age of 63 in England.

However even if he had married before turning 60, it would not have been recognised under Irish law until 2011 - when Dr Parris was 65.

He argued that it had not been possible for him to enter into a same-sex marriage or civil partnership any earlier because of the legal position in Ireland.

But the court, contrary to an earlier opinion by the Advocate-General, said the rule requiring civil partnership or marriage before the age of 60 did not constitute discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, age or both.