Actually, last time we checked the rights and responsibilities offered to civil partnerships were significantly different to those of a married couple.
“When any society says that I cannot marry a certain person, that society has cut off a segment of my freedom.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 33,700 same-sex couples living in Australia. That means every 1 in 29 people that you know or meet identify their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual. Currently, those 1 in 29 individuals who are in a loving same-sex relationships have to live together for a certain period of time before they are considered a de facto couple and given any legal rights.
Sure in 2008, Australian legislation underwent a number of reforms to implement equal entitlements for same-sex couples in the areas of employment, superannuation, compensation, and social security, but when it comes to marital entitlements such as hospital visitation rights, estate inheritance and not to mention marriage itself, there are still many inequalities.
Still convinced that a civil partnership is good enough?
Late last year, Ben Jago struggled with the recognition of his same-sex relationship after his partner of five years, Nathan, committed suicide in their Hobart home. Despite joint bank accounts, joint tax returns, a shared property and even plans to marry in New Zealand this year, Ben was refused as next of kin and was considered simply Nathan’s ‘room mate’ by police.
“I lost my soulmate and was then left feeling worthless…”
Ben went through something no one else should ever have to endure, not only did he go through the traumatic event of losing his partner, but their relationship was ignored and deemed non-existent by state authorities.
Mr Jago was refused custody of Nathan’s body, had no say in funeral arrangements and was told by Nathan’s family members that he would only be allowed to attend the funeral if he was to sit at the back and say nothing.
“To be treated like I meant nothing to him, and was not even a part of his life, left me feeling like a part of my soul has been crushed into dust.”
Remember, separate but equal is never completely equal. Overcoming the issue of same sex marriage means equality to ALL citizens.
See Ben’s full interview here.