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Grant v South West Trains Ltd, ECJ Case C-249/96 - 17/2/98

Facts: The petitioner was an employee of Southwest Trains and his same-sex partner was denied travel benefits

Complaint: the applicant claimed that because unmarried opposite-sex partners of employees were given the benefits, the refusal of benefits to her partner constituted sex discrimination. She also argued that the denial constituted "sexual orientation" discrimination which should be considered unlawful discrimination "based on sex" under Article 119 of the European Community Treaty.

Holding: the ECJ did not find discrimination on the basis of sex or a "sexual orientation" discrimination.

Reasoning: male workers and female workers would be affected identically by the denial of benefits so there was no discrimination on the basis of sex. Disparate treatment of same-sex couples was not a violation of Articles 8 and 14 of the Convention and the ECHR construed Article 12 to apply only to traditional marriage. The legislature alone had the authority to change the position of same-sex couples. There was not "sexual orientation" discrimination because the EC Treaty referred only to sex discrimination.

 

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