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Posts Tagged ‘same-sex couples’

Tut-tut time

Now we’ll start hearing the moral outrage about potential drawbacks in the new laws for de facto relationships. You know, the laws that were designed to grant same-sex couples financial and property entitlements in a system where marriage must be between a man and a woman.

Would this be a good time to point out that there was a much more straightforward legal amendment that would have avoided the “mistress problem”?

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The success of the same-sex marriage ban in California and some related discussion has reminded me that I have long planned to write more about the legal issues surrounding marriage. Since I don’t expect to have time in the near future, I have dug out an essay I wrote on the topic back when I was studying family law.

The essay is below the fold, in its original form. If I had the time, there are things I was unhappy with in the work – I did not have enough space to adequately explore the arguments surrounding polygamy, and I did not articulate clearly enough that the UK’s approach is a compromise (equivalent to marriage yet not called marriage) and that considering it to be genuine equal treatment is questionable. Plus, quiyte frankly, I was cutting pretty close to the deadline for submitting it. Anyway, here it is.

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This is a bit too optimistic for me:

Legislation to end discrimination for same-sex couples under Commonwealth law has been introduced in Federal Parliament.

It needs the word ‘some’, or perhaps ‘most’. But this is the line the Government has run with, and they are certainly well ahead of their predecessors in promoting equality. And they are arguably providing substantive equality while not providing a more symbolic form (marriage recognition) – a nice counter to the “all spin, no substance” argument against Rudd and co.

But the fact remains that genuine equality, not to mention a more common-sense approach to distinguishing relationships where partners share property and entitlements from those where their interests remain separate, is still out of reach. Kerry O’Brien did a good job of arguing this point – in the manner that conservatives seem to think he reserves for those who are not of teh Left – a few months ago.

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… and yet genuine equality of relationships still doesn’t get on the table with either of the major parties.

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