Europe

EU court: gays in civil pacts have same benefits

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's highest court has ruled that in EU countries where gay couples can't marry, they must get the same benefits as married people if they enter into civil partnerships.

The EU Court of Justice ruled Thursday in the case of Frederic Hay, a French bank worker who was denied the extra leave and bonuses given to married employees after he entered into a civil pact with his male partner. At the time, French law restricted marriage to people of different sexes.

The European Court called Hay's situation "direct discrimination based on sexual orientation." French law and the bank's collective bargaining agreement have changed since. But a court spokesman said Thursday's ruling now sets an EU-wide standard.

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