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CUPE has won a major victory in its struggle to ensure equality for gay and lesbian employees.

In an historic decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld CUPE’s challenge to the Income Tax Act, allowing its staff pension plan to provide survivor benefits to lesbian and gay employees. Ruling that the current opposite-sex definition of spouse discriminates against lesbians and gays under the equality section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Court agreed with CUPE that there is no justification for this inequality.

“We are thrilled with the decision,” said Geraldine McGuire, CUPE’s National Secretary-treasurer. “As it stood, the law forced us to discriminate. Clearly we couldn’t continue to deny equality benefits to lesbian and gay employees who contribute equally to our pension plan.

“This is great,” said Fred Hahn, a member of CUPE’s Pink Triangle Committee. “It makes me proud to a member of this union. CUPE doesn’t just talk about equality. It is willing to put its money where its mouth is, defending the rights of gay and lesbian employees and members.”