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Australia Introduces Rights for Gay Couples

Timothy Kincaid

April 29th, 2008

When the Labor Party came to power in Australia last year gay citizens expected them to live up to campaign promises made to enact recognition of same-sex couples. Until recently, they saw little progress.

The efforts of the Australian Capital Territory to enact civil unions were met by aggressive hostility by the federal government. The biggest objection was that the ACT proposed civil unions would allow a ceremony – something viewed as too similar to marriage.

Now, however, it appears that the Rudd government is willing to live up to its promise for limited rights, similar to those of de-facto couples and will effect about 100 areas of law. (Sydney Morning Herald)

The federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, will announce today that the necessary legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumes next month for the winter sittings.

The measures do not amount to gay marriage; they afford gay couples the same treatment as heterosexual de facto couples in areas such as tax, superannuation sharing and social security.

Although the article does not clarify the methods by which the couples would be determined, it will likely be by registered partnership in a method similar to that employed by Tazmania.

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Jim Woulfe
April 29th, 2008 | LINK

the article does not clarify the methods by which the couples would be determined,

In Australia, opposite-sex de facto couples have long had the same rights and obligations as married couples. There are established tests for the existence of a de facto relationship, such as cohabitation, financial interdependency, social and family recognition of the relationship, etc.

In the current round of reforms, the definition of de facto will be changed to include same-sex couples, so that all the protections enjoyed by heterosexual couples will now apply to same-sex couples.

Essentially, we will have the same rights as married couples, except for the right to marry.

Timothy Kincaid
April 29th, 2008 | LINK

Jim,

Thank you for the clarification.

Joel
April 29th, 2008 | LINK

“Essentially, we will have the same rights as married couples, except for the right to marry.”
Lol.. their against it because it woul dhave a ceremony, OH NOES that’s too equal. But its all good, its really.. NOT the same thing. I sometimes get stuck at this logic.. i dont know why.
It sorta makes sense when i apply the whole ‘not the same thing’ in analogy with other things. It ends up being a pathetic argument at establishing law, since… men=/=woman, nor are white=/black, or a more spirited argument, Jew=/=christian. Then i ask, Is a reproducing sexual organ really that important in a marriage? Is it as relevant as ones skin color?

L. Junius Brutus
April 30th, 2008 | LINK

It is unfortunate that they decided to include any cohabiting pair, not just those with romantic commitments. While I’m sympathetic to the plight of people like the British elderly sisters, it isn’t quite the same as a romantic relationship and shouldn’t be treated the same. It’s basically what James Dobson backs in Colorado, ‘reciprocal benefits’, which is troubling.

Still, it’s one small step toward equality. Anything that makes the lives of gays and lesbians less difficult is to be lauded.

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