This week read Japan's bill falling short of adding protections to the LGBT community, and Ken Haire winning his pension case after claiming discrimination by CN Rail in Canada.
Widower Settles Pension Case After Claims Of LGBT Discrimination
Since originally being refused rights to his late partner's CN Rail pension because he was in a same-sex relationship, Ken Haire has won his fight.
According to CBC, Haire received a letter from the railway officially recognizing him as the common-law spouse of Gerry Schwarz, who was an employee there for 30 years. It also included a lump sum for missed payments over the span of nine years plus interest after Schwarz’s death.
Until 1998, same-sex couples were not considered qualified spouses under CN's pension scheme. Although the move was not retroactive, the firm said it is reviewing how the policy impacts workers who retired before 1998.
"After all those years and all the people he had worked with, they still didn't acknowledge the fact that Gerry and I were a couple," Haire told CBC. "We were a couple in every sense of the word. It really did hurt."
Japan’s LGBT Bill Falls Short
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Japan currently lacks any national regulations shielding LGBT people from discrimination, and a new survey ranks Japan at the bottom of a list of developing country rules on LGBT inclusion.
According to Human Rights Watch, The LGBT Equality Act, a draft statute, is currently undergoing intensive negotiations between Japan's ruling and opposition parties. The conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party declared in April that during the current Diet session, which ends in June, it will pass an LGBT law.
However, the bill introduced by the ruling party at the LDP's Special Mission Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity merely allows the government to promote awareness of LGBT people. It omits non-discrimination safeguards and falls short of the government's universal human rights commitments.
Many Japanese LGBT rights organizations are opposed to the draft law, fearing that the weak wording would have little real guarantees. Opposition parties are calling for a bill that prevents them from discrimination.