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Image for Historic Day For Gay Equality

Historic Day For Gay Equality

Yesterday the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Bill 2008 passed through the Australian Senate. The definition of a de facto now includes same-sex couples and allows us to leave superannuation entitlements to our partners. We are also guaranteed equality in tax, social security, health, aged care and employment.

“Today is an historic day,” said NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesperson Peter Johnson yesterday. “The Australian Senate has finally and firmly given its nod to equality for our relationships and families. Our partners and our children can look forward to equality in almost all areas of federal law, from taxation to health and aged care, from immigration to family law.

“Same-sex couples and families are witnessing the tearing up and rewriting of almost all Commonwealth law to finally recognise the truth that all love is equal and nurturing all relationships, regardless of the gender of partners, is important.”

The Bill rewrites legal definitions of ‘couple’, ‘partner’, ‘parent’, ‘child’ and ‘family’ to include all couples and their children. The changes will grant equal access to entitlements and benefits in federal laws relating to taxation, superannuation, Medicare and health entitlements, social security, veterans’ and defence benefits, migration and workers’ compensation.

“We congratulate the Rudd Government for honouring its election commitment to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Australians. We acknowledge the Coalition, Greens and Senator Xenophon whose principled and practical support helped ensure the passage of these reforms through the Senate,” added Johnson.

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will continue working with community organisations, Government departments and legal experts to ensure same-sex couples and their children understand and are prepared for the reforms.

Some of the changes will take effect sooner than others. Medicare and PBS changes will commence on 1 January 2009. Some changes, including social security payments, some family tax benefits, Australian passport changes and veterans’ affairs entitlements will commence from 1 July 2009.

No social security payments will be affected until 1 July 2009, even if same-sex couples declare their relationship status to Centrelink. Same-sex couples will be able to contact Centrelink from March 2009 to find out what the changes will mean for their payments.

Social

Comments

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pantone801

pantone801 said on the 25th Nov, 2008

A proud day! Now I just have to get my NZ Civil Union recognised, here in Australia, and hope that others will be able to enjoy the right to marry.

blueterrace

blueterrace said on the 25th Nov, 2008

So will this law make it easier for my partner of 4 years to get permanent residency in this country?

C and K

C and K said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Yes! This is much more important then fighting for "gay marriage". I'm also hoping this will mean that those peole on King st newtown with nothing better to do will stop pushing support gay marriage flyers in my face.

C and K

C and K said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Yes! This is much more important then fighting for "gay marriage". I'm also hoping this will mean that those peole on King st newtown with nothing better to do will stop pushing support gay marriage flyers in my face.

C and K

C and K said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Yes! This is much more important then fighting for "gay marriage". I'm also hoping this will mean that those peole on King st newtown with nothing better to do will stop pushing support gay marriage flyers in my face.

Bren

Bren said on the 25th Nov, 2008

[FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]

It is understandable that any number of gay folk don't find marriage equality important or relevant to themselves personally, but one would hope that those people can accept and respect others who do.

Surely a strength of our community and the total sum of all our life perspectives is our collective ability to recognise the importance of choice, diversity and difference and the social good (or at least absence of harm) these things engender, even when certain of those choices are not to our individual preferences?

Being the elephant in the room as far as the inequality debate goes, I think the push for marriage equality will intensify, not lessen. So it should, because "nearly equal" is, self evidently, not equal.

Some Facebook groups that might be of interest:

Fight For Gay Marriage In Australia !!
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=33834848601

Lets start with just 1,000 people to support Gay Marriage in Australia.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48616273632

Against Gay Marriage? Then Don't Get One and Shut the Fuck Up
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2204636989

I Support Gay Marriages!
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=34546306385

Australian Marriage Equality
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19331566738

:)

camiseta

camiseta said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Big pat on back to everyone who wrote s submission in support of this.

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a great positive start. Lets hope one day we can all enjoy the freedoms we all deserve. :)

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

gawd wtf happened there.. stupid Adelaide internet cafe posted all those responses how bizarre. I only pressed it once. LOL

honest

honest said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Great movement forward, but I guess for many people in Sydney and some in this forum who don't know how to commit to a lasting relationship it won't make that much of a difference to them.

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

pointing the finger at others again honest. Once again you have only proven that your words are divisive and judgemental. Can somebody get a violin to play as honest throws stones from his profileless glass house?

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 25th Nov, 2008



You do know that Australia and gays extends past Sydney....

Bren

Bren said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Of course it's great news.

LOL jackie87, good call. Maybe he misread the article heading and thought it said [URL="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=histrionic"][COLOR=Red]Histrionic Day For Gay Equality? :D

hazyinseptember

hazyinseptember said on the 25th Nov, 2008



you really have to be the bitchiest person i have ever met...

this is an amazing step forward for the community, you know.. that one that you always complain about, and all you can do is throw little snide attacks in!!

:mad:

hazyinseptember

hazyinseptember said on the 25th Nov, 2008

This is a brilliant step forward!!

congratulations to everyone involved in getting this through..

mikeb

mikeb said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Bloody brilliant ..... :)

Chancethegardener

Chancethegardener said on the 25th Nov, 2008



http://fc04.deviantart.com/fs15/f/2007/079/d/f/Fuck_you_by_Vladm.jpg

DeepBlueDreamer

DeepBlueDreamer said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Fantastic news...it took one year, but finally it's done!

Chancethegardener, good reply :)

largs girl

largs girl said on the 25th Nov, 2008

We're thrilled at my house.
Finally after 30 plus years and lots of political action our children are finally recognised as our children!
Although the battle on gay marriage is still to be won, we are equal in every other way.

When I first came out in the 1970s we were not allow to be teachers, keep our children if we divorced nor talk about our love.

God it feels so good to see equality in my life time! http://www.samesame.com.au/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif

GenesisInVain

GenesisInVain said on the 25th Nov, 2008

We're all walking in the same direction, for the sake of 'community'. It's a such shame those who don't believe in any sort of community within the micro world of queer people resort to cheap shots 'to dampen spirits'.

akkaz

akkaz said on the 25th Nov, 2008

A massive step in the right direction - now all we need is civil unions

Asherbella

Asherbella said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Gays
Are
Human.

Deal
With
It.

Gays
Love.

Gays
Are
Here.

Gays
Are
Okay.

pinkmountains

pinkmountains said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Almost there ? I agree!!
But i am still amazed and happy that the Rudd government has passed these laws. I actually never thought i would see this happen after all these years of activism by so many people.
I would still like full equality , I would like a legal union with my partner of 38 years, but hey i am real happy that's for sure.

samsales

samsales said on the 25th Nov, 2008

I am so proud to be gay!
And it is amazing that the government finally honours and recognises us.
We are all humans and we all deserve the same rights.

judes1974

judes1974 said on the 25th Nov, 2008

Yay! What a wonderful day... historic even! Very very cool.

gnosis

gnosis said on the 25th Nov, 2008

It begins. I always keep an eye on which poor news sites decide to turn on their comments and let the homophobic trolls in:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/25/2428794.htm
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24700371-661,00.html

Oh and I've decided to start practicing this and not recognise *any* marriage for a while. It will provoke interesting reactions when you refer to someone's husband or wife as a 'life partner'.

Chancethegardener

Chancethegardener said on the 25th Nov, 2008

It begins. I always keep an eye on which poor news sites decide to turn on their comments and let the homophobic trolls in:


Hahaha. I do that too! I thought I had a problem for a while there, but soon got it under control.

colofaus

colofaus said on the 25th Nov, 2008

I'm extremely happy that this Legislation got up! And the fact the coalition let it pass just goes to show (again) what a stultifying effect that mean little rodent Howard had on the true liberals in the Liberal party! As for the marriage argument, well as in Heterosexual relationships that should be a matter of choice. Personally I think it's just pandering to the religions. Gay people have had to make their own rules because of being shunned for so long and I just don't get the point of marriage. That is my opinion and I don't think less of anyone wanting go through the process.

Duncan Johnson

Duncan Johnson said on the 25th Nov, 2008

I'm happy as will make a difference with society's attitude in general towards the LGBTI community as occurred in Tasmania after the introduction of our now quite progressive laws regards registering relationships, etc. It does not stop the red-necks, but does change the general attitude. Not to mention the important changes for my partner and I which mean we are treated much more equally. Now for Gay marriage - not that I personally want it, but think that those who do should be able to do so.

Bren

Bren said on the 26th Nov, 2008

Faaaaaaabulous as from July 2009 many already impoverished gay men, lesbians, etc will be forced into committing Centrelink Fraud, just so the gay middle class and elites can enjoy their tax benefits, medical expenses, property and superannuation rights. What a wonderful outcome. It is always the poor and disadvantaged who lose out to such changes as these. Sure there are huge positives in removing discrimination, but when you are fighting to put food on the table with a limited income, any slash to that income will be devastating. And that is what is going to happen, because couples living on centrelink payments will have their income lowered. In addition centrelink recipients who live with a working partner will also have their payments cut, whether they are financially independent of their partners or not.
Hence I suspect a large silent section of the gay community will be forced to committ fraud in order to survive. Just Fabulous !

Que? What was the proportionate alternative?

Leave discrimination entrenched in over 100 Australian laws (eg. same-sex partners continuing to be denied super entitlements and having their incomes unconscionably slashed in their old age should their spouse prematurely kick the bucket) on the basis that some GLBTQ welfare recipients may be worse off?

If there are flaws in the welfare system, why not direct criticism and outrage at the welfare system and the people responsible for it? You might find that a lot more people would agree with you on that.

honest

honest said on the 26th Nov, 2008

Faaaaaaabulous as from July 2009 many already impoverished gay men, lesbians, etc will be forced into committing Centrelink Fraud, just so the gay middle class and elites can enjoy their tax benefits, medical expenses, property and superannuation rights. What a wonderful outcome. It is always the poor and disadvantaged who lose out to such changes as these. Sure there are huge positives in removing discrimination, but when you are fighting to put food on the table with a limited income, any slash to that income will be devastating. And that is what is going to happen, because couples living on centrelink payments will have their income lowered. In addition centrelink recipients who live with a working partner will also have their payments cut, whether they are financially independent of their partners or not.
Hence I suspect a large silent section of the gay community will be forced to committ fraud in order to survive. Just Fabulous !

Well you can't have your cake and eat it too.

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 26th Nov, 2008



lmao I got worried for a second, I'd thought Adelaide got caught in some sort of relative space/ time anomaly. oO(hangon, it is) :p

I’d realised the space time continuum was ok when my glass wouldn’t refill itself.

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 26th Nov, 2008

a toast

to us


http://www.wineyatra.com/imgs/wine-glass.jpg

Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor said on the 26th Nov, 2008

Que? What was the proportionate alternative?

Leave discrimination entrenched in over 100 Australian laws (eg. same-sex partners continuing to be denied super entitlements and having their incomes unconscionably slashed in their old age should their spouse prematurely kick the bucket) on the basis that some GLBTQ welfare recipients may be worse off?

If there are flaws in the welfare system, why not direct criticism and outrage at the welfare system and the people responsible for it? You might find that a lot more people would agree with you on that.

beautifully put bren.

Chancethegardener

Chancethegardener said on the 26th Nov, 2008

a toast

to us


http://www.wineyatra.com/imgs/wine-glass.jpg

I'll drink to that.

In fact, I have done so already tonight. Several times over. I might just have another anyway.

Cheers, everyone!

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 26th Nov, 2008

It begins. I always keep an eye on which poor news sites decide to turn on their comments and let the homophobic trolls in:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/25/2428794.htm
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24700371-661,00.html

Oh and I've decided to start practicing this and not recognise *any* marriage for a while. It will provoke interesting reactions when you refer to someone's husband or wife as a 'life partner'.

I had tipped Media Watch for them not moderating the comments and it went through a fair few programs and typical responses such as "we are not responsible for the views portrayed blah blah blah..."

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 26th Nov, 2008



Jesus Christ!

Not only do you tag us as elites but you spit on the poor!

I hope for your sake you choke on the next dick that goes down your throat.

jamieavenger

jamieavenger said on the 26th Nov, 2008

It's wonderful, and we are SO fortunate to live in a country where this can happen

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 26th Nov, 2008



The negative impact on those in our community who are reliant on welfare assistance (such as those receiving the disability support pension, the O.A.P., sole parenting payments, concession card benefits etc.,) should be a concern to all glbqti's, but I think it's fairly obvious that those who are reliant on social security assistance are fairly stigmatised by our community.

It's an issue I raised a couple of years ago when the notion of formal relationship recognition or 'gay marriage' first began to arouse some excitement. Naturally, as most same-sex couples will benefit from the changes, there was little interest in those who will lose out. The glib response was that "equality should be the same for everyone" and "why should glbqti couples have any special advantage?". The answer is that acts of positive discrimination are allowed for under anti-discrimination laws, based on the premise that justified discrimination is needed in some situations for disadvantaged people to have the opportunity to become equal within society. We should have been lobbying for the implementation of new terms in the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth). such as ‘couple relationship,’ de facto relationships and registered relationships etc., in order to spare those on welfare the loss of their income. In other words, a caveat that recognises different levels of relationships. No one was interested, in the rush to the bridal registry. No one is interested now.

Those that are well funded to advocate for the HIV+ responded that "they had little to do with Centrelink" but suggested there be "a period of adjustment," presumably to give welfare couples time to break up. Senator Ludwig, Minister for Human Services, has suggested that such couples caught up in the welfare nightmare "might require some independent advocacy support." And good luck with that.

I also assume that the huge 550% increase in new clients accessing BGF's vocational guidance service since they and acon took over the Luncheon Club reflects their relationship with Centrelink.

The HIV Futures survey found that one in three PLWHA are still living in poverty, and the loss of their welfare benefit will be a disaster for them.

Maree O'Halloran from the National Welfare Rights network says, "We're asking Centrelink to pay special consideration to the very vulnerable people."

Michael Raper, President on the National Welfare Rights Network said, “The fundamental problem is that Centrelink is not looking closely enough at all the factors that indicate that no relationship exists. It makes judgements based on moral, not legal, grounds and often makes decisions based on flimsy information and prejudicial attitudes. We are representing a record number of clients in appeals against decisions to cancel or reduce their payments because of an alleged marriage-like relationship...The increased number of cases involving older people and carers who share rent and provide companionship and support, is extremely alarming.”

The reasons that many of the disadvantaged share accommodation include considerations such as physical security, help in case of a fall, isolation etc., and the high costs of renting alone. They are much more important considerations than entering into a “gay marriage”. They do care for each other, but the last thing they see themselves as "married". Centrelink investigations will look at where they live and who they live with, their financial arrangements with any person, who they socialise with, any sexual relationship they have with a person, how their friends and family see their relationship and if they have any children from that relationship. Centrelink can also find out this information by contacting neighbours, Department of Housing, real estate agents, gas and electricity suppliers, local council, or any other person they think that can provide them with details of a relationship. As always, they will rely heavily on you being 'dobbed in' by callers to their new hotline.

So, in the absence of any interest or advocacy on their behalf, here's some free advice for glbqti couples where one or both are on benefits. Do not register your relationship. You cannot afford the luxury of same-sex partner recognition that the rest of the community does, obviously a person will automatically be considered to be the de facto partner of another person if they are in a ‘registered relationship’.

While I am not affected by these changes personally, I like to think that 'community' means that we look after each other, particularly our most vulnerable. After all, there but for the grace of some higher power, perhaps, might go any one of us.

Goldele

Goldele said on the 26th Nov, 2008

Wow, I wonder if that means I can list my partner on my Tax form instead getting the ridiculousness error message "you cannot list your partner as the same sex as you"...Well done Australia!

Bren

Bren said on the 27th Nov, 2008

[...]
The HIV Futures survey found that one in three PLWHA are still living in poverty, and the loss of their welfare benefit will be a disaster for them.

Maree O'Halloran from the National Welfare Rights network says, "We're asking Centrelink to pay special consideration to the very vulnerable people."

Michael Raper, President on the National Welfare Rights Network said, “The fundamental problem is that Centrelink is not looking closely enough at all the factors that indicate that no relationship exists. It makes judgements based on moral, not legal, grounds and often makes decisions based on flimsy information and prejudicial attitudes. We are representing a record number of clients in appeals against decisions to cancel or reduce their payments because of an alleged marriage-like relationship...The increased number of cases involving older people and carers who share rent and provide companionship and support, is extremely alarming.”

[...]

So [...] here's some free advice for glbqti couples where one or both are on benefits. Do not register your relationship. You cannot afford the luxury of same-sex partner recognition that the rest of the community does, obviously a person will automatically be considered to be the de facto partner of another person if they are in a ‘registered relationship’.

Thanks for that post. It was very insightful, thought-provoking and you made palpable points. I think the neediest of welfare recipients do need a better deal (whether they are gay, straight or otherwise).

The comments by Maree O'Halloran & Michael Raper underscore that this issue has less to do with 'gay marriage' and more to do with the way the welfare system has long treated cohabiting welfare recipients. That's why the welfare system ought to be the focal point of criticism and further action (rather than downplaying or blaming the equal rights and protections that have been recently achieved for same-sex couples; or conflating the former with the latter).

One starting point needs to be measuring or predicting the negative impact. How many people stand to lose how much? In what specific cirumstances? Do we know this yet? Does the Government or Centrelink even know this yet?

Another aspect to look at is, is there anything in the welfare system as it currently stands, to make up for the loss (or, if not, what needs to be done to the welfare system to make it kinder and fairer)? For example, can either or both of two interdependant welfare recipients who live together as mutual carers (eg. two HIV+ cohabitants sharing resources and mutually supporting each other) be recognised by Centrelink as such and get the Carer's Allowance or Carer's Payment?

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 27th Nov, 2008

The comments by Maree O'Halloran & Michael Raper were made in reference to the pre-existing status of defacto couples, before the same sex reforms, and illustrate the kind of harassment that gay couples can expect. The numbers of welfare beneficiaries losing out is set to skyrocket. The National Welfare Rights Group says the loss of payments for elderly couples on single pensions forced on to the reduced joint pensions will be a shock and they should be allowed to stay on their payments.

It is not possible to say how much these couples are set to lose; a ball park figure is that one of the couple will be about $100 a week worse off - brunch money for some, a week's food for others - depending on circumstances, excluding the loss of rent assistance, travel concessions SAS/S, the PBS etc.

Centrelink estimates around 11,000 people are receiving social security benefits in a same-sex relationship.

As I said, "we should have been lobbying for the implementation of new terms in the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth). such as ‘couple relationship,’ de facto relationships and registered relationships etc., in order to spare those on welfare the loss of their income. In other words, a caveat that recognises different levels of relationships. No one was interested." If you interpret that as "downplaying or blaming the equal rights and protections that have been recently achieved for same-sex couples," so it goes. I call it a failure of HIV advocacy.

The simple fact is that many will not survive the loss of their benefits. Their only option is to try and get "unmarried," to separate or disguise their relationships, abrogate any joint ventures or interests and be very careful who they tell their business to, including acon and BGF.

harker

harker said on the 30th Nov, 2008

I think the welfare problem is sad, but like has been said is a separate issue as it effects all couples on welfare not just same sex couples.

and while I understand honest's jadedness with the gay community, I think this is a amazing step forward. It great to see that despite all the arguments over gay marriage something like this can still get passed.

I for one would like gay marriages or civil unions recognised, however this is fantastic as a step in that direction.

YAY!!

honest

honest said on the 1st Dec, 2008

Jesus Christ!

Not only do you tag us as elites but you spit on the poor!

I hope for your sake you choke on the next dick that goes down your throat.

Get over yourself. Why do you think you should be treated differently to every other Australian? You want the same rights, but as long as they comply with your conditions? Seems you've tagged yourself buddy and you're the one doing the spitting.

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 1st Dec, 2008



I couldn't give a flying fuck about your assertions that I wish to be treated better than ordinary Australians.

Seems like your head is lodged right up that pert little conservative arse of yours that you can't see the forest for the trees. I guess your remarks really don't hold that much water since your lot is navel gazing in opposition.

omphaloskeptic

omphaloskeptic said on the 1st Dec, 2008

Nothing wrong with a bit of navel gazing :)

honest

honest said on the 1st Dec, 2008

I couldn't give a flying fuck about your assertions that I wish to be treated better than ordinary Australians.

Seems like your head is lodged right up that pert little conservative arse of yours that you can't see the forest for the trees. I guess your remarks really don't hold that much water since your lot is navel gazing in opposition.

Wow there's that green giant rising forth from you again. Obviously you're judging me based on my appearance (again).... how discriminatory.

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 1st Dec, 2008

Can't really see your arse from that photo, sweetheart

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 1st Dec, 2008

Well, I think I have just about exhausted my argument (and myself) here.
Those who will be disadvantaged should never have been forced to be considered under the highly inappropriate umbrella of 'married,'and should have the right to declare that they do not consider their relationship in that way.
But that is not an option available to them. The 'equality/marriage' lobby seems intolerant of the rights of those who choose NOT to be 'married.'
The simple answer to "Why should same-sex couples be singled out for special treatment," is that THEY never asked to be 'married' they were quite happy without the need for their relationships to be considered in heterosexist terms, and now a large silent section of the gay community will be subjected to Centrelink investigation (http://www.facs.gov.au/guides_acts/ssg/ssguide-2/ssguide-2.2/ssguide-2.2.5/ssguide-2.2.5.10.html) or lose their sole means of support based on moral grounds, flimsy information and prejudicial attitudes, or be forced to repay to Centrelink that which they believed they were entitled to, or undergo arduous appeals procedures without effective advocacy, or commit fraud in order to survive.
Mazel Tov.

cactusboy666

cactusboy666 said on the 3rd Dec, 2008

I'm sure lookin fwd to havin centrelink slash my pension by $400 a f/n.

cactusboy666

cactusboy666 said on the 3rd Dec, 2008

Well, I think I have just about exhausted my argument (and myself) here.
Those who will be disadvantaged should never have been forced to be considered under the highly inappropriate umbrella of 'married,'and should have the right to declare that they do not consider their relationship in that way.
But that is not an option available to them. The 'equality/marriage' lobby seems intolerant of the rights of those who choose NOT to be 'married.'
The simple answer to "Why should same-sex couples be singled out for special treatment," is that THEY never asked to be 'married' they were quite happy without the need for their relationships to be considered in heterosexist terms, and now a large silent section of the gay community will be subjected to Centrelink investigation (http://www.facs.gov.au/guides_acts/ssg/ssguide-2/ssguide-2.2/ssguide-2.2.5/ssguide-2.2.5.10.html) or lose their sole means of support based on moral grounds, flimsy information and prejudicial attitudes, or be forced to repay to Centrelink that which they believed they were entitled to, or undergo arduous appeals procedures without effective advocacy, or commit fraud in order to survive.
Mazel Tov.
Good one shanesydney, you seem to be one of the very few who understands the fundamental differences between het and s-s relationships. Why should I play the silly 'hey let's get married just like them' game.
The five star folks makin decisions for the one star folks yet again. You bet I'm bitter, but I ain't twisted (yet!).

cactusboy666

cactusboy666 said on the 3rd Dec, 2008


What's so hot about civil unions, or marriage for that matter? What matters is that you love her/him and a bit of paper ain't gonna make any difference to that.

pinkmountains

pinkmountains said on the 4th Dec, 2008

Brilliant ! a great step forward !
But NSW govt. needs to get with it . We need a relationship registry and a stop to churches calling the tune by being able to discriminate against gays

pinkmountains

pinkmountains said on the 4th Dec, 2008

Brilliant ! a great step forward !
But NSW govt. needs to get with it . We need a relationship registry and a stop to churches calling the tune by being able to discriminate against gays

trevleen

trevleen said on the 4th Dec, 2008

They should not be persecuting elderly gays and cutting their pensions when they will NOT allow us to marry - centrelink has guidelines called 'marriage like relationships' that they use to assess and then cut payments, how dare they do that to us when we are still NOT allowed to marry by LAW. disgusts me.

trevleen

trevleen said on the 4th Dec, 2008

They should not be persecuting elderly gays and cutting their pensions when they will NOT allow us to marry - centrelink has guidelines called 'marriage like relationships' that they use to assess and then cut payments, how dare they do that to us when we are still NOT allowed to marry by LAW. disgusts me.

trevleen

trevleen said on the 4th Dec, 2008

They should not be persecuting elderly gays and cutting their pensions when they will NOT allow us to marry - centrelink has guidelines called 'marriage like relationships' that they use to assess and then cut payments, how dare they do that to us when we are still NOT allowed to marry by LAW. disgusts me.

trevleen

trevleen said on the 5th Dec, 2008

the reason people's comments appear several times is because we get NO message telling us the comment has been received and is being moderated, just nothing, so it seems it did not work.
PLEASE SAME SAME FIX THIS!

andrewc

andrewc said on the 5th Dec, 2008

And another step forward:

"The Victorian Government has announced sweeping changes to surrogacy laws that will pave the way for single women and lesbians to get fertility treatment without having to be certified as medically infertile. "

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/15/2119738.htm

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 5th Dec, 2008

” As the celebrations die down, however, it is clear the win for human rights is a serious blow to many gay people.

Elderly gay couples will lose pension income, face Centrelink investigations into their sex lives and will be forced to “come out” of the closet and risk prosecution for fraud.

The Government’s much-lauded same-sex reforms, ironically, have continued the tradition of treating gays differently from heterosexuals. Every significant change to social security laws passed in the last 15 years has included a “grandfather” clause to minimise harsh consequences for those already in the system.


As a result, human rights progress for many gays and lesbians will come at a cost to those who can ill afford to bear financial losses…Where both partners are age or disability pensioners, they will suffer reduced income through each being paid at the lower couple rate. Where one partner is still working or has a high retirement income, the other may lose his or her pension and concession card entirely


If couples desist, Centrelink may come sniffing around. Among the questions to be asked of couples in their 70s and 80s is whether they have sex. It is part of the battery used to determine whether people are living as an interdependent couple but claiming benefits as singles. Couples don’t have to be having sex or sharing a bedroom - or to have lived together for two years - to be considered de factos. Centrelink has a record for zealous, even brutal, investigations of suspected “marriage-like” relationships among elderly heterosexuals…As the drawbacks filter through, many in the gay community are angry, calling those who lobbied so heavily for the changes “bourgeois” and uncaring of the impact on the most disadvantaged.”
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/gay-couples-to-face-new-era-of-financial-discrimination/2008/12/05/1228257316542.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

Bren

Bren said on the 9th Dec, 2008



No one who is not married should be considered to be married -- gay or straight, disadvantaged or otherwise.



Sheer nonsense. Substantiate.



Yet again, you're being conflationary while not actually answering the question. Your answers don't address the question because those answers do not reflect the reality of all same-sex couples nor, by implication, the reality of all opposite-sex couples. Nor do you represent the totality of either of those two groups. So how about limiting your presumptions to being about specific groups of people you actually know, rather than about entire couple populations that you don't?



Well, let's see if that actually happens, eh? Recent media reports have been hinting that that the Rudd Government has begun taking a less adversarial, less punitive approach to the welfare system (eg. reducing breaches of Newstart recipients). If this the beginning of wide-ranging procedural and culture change for the better in the welfare sector, it would be hasty to presume that same-sex couples will be utterly screwed over. That is not to say that we the people should not lobby for changes to better safeguard the disadvantaged anyway, but that such efforts should be directed rationally towards the source of the problem for all coupled welfare recipients, gay or straight: the rules and regulations of the welfare system.

” As the celebrations die down, however, it is clear the win for human rights is a serious blow to many gay people.

Elderly gay couples will lose pension income, face Centrelink investigations into their sex lives and will be forced to “come out” of the closet and risk prosecution for fraud.

The Government’s much-lauded same-sex reforms, ironically, have continued the tradition of treating gays differently from heterosexuals. Every significant change to social security laws passed in the last 15 years has included a “grandfather” clause to minimise harsh consequences for those already in the system.


As a result, human rights progress for many gays and lesbians will come at a cost to those who can ill afford to bear financial losses…Where both partners are age or disability pensioners, they will suffer reduced income through each being paid at the lower couple rate. Where one partner is still working or has a high retirement income, the other may lose his or her pension and concession card entirely


If couples desist, Centrelink may come sniffing around. Among the questions to be asked of couples in their 70s and 80s is whether they have sex. It is part of the battery used to determine whether people are living as an interdependent couple but claiming benefits as singles. Couples don’t have to be having sex or sharing a bedroom - or to have lived together for two years - to be considered de factos. Centrelink has a record for zealous, even brutal, investigations of suspected “marriage-like” relationships among elderly heterosexuals…As the drawbacks filter through, many in the gay community are angry, calling those who lobbied so heavily for the changes “bourgeois” and uncaring of the impact on the most disadvantaged.”
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/gay-couples-to-face-new-era-of-financial-discrimination/2008/12/05/1228257316542.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

NONE of which has anything to do with legal marriage because marriage does not lawfully exist for same-sex couples in Australia.

Which return us yet again to the same inescapable conclusion: that you are wrongly scapegoating the equal marriage lobby when the contentious issue should be those laws and regulations governing the Australian social security (welfare) system in relation to cohabiting welfare recipients. Why do you consistently fail to acknowledge this?

Again, by all means lobby to change that and you will probably find a lot of people would agree with you. (In fact, now is a good time for this sort of reform, given that rapid economic stimulus is needed to stave off the effects of the global financial crisis; federal funds could be allocated towards lifting the most disadvantaged away from the poverty line.) But disingenuously tell people they shouldn't be entitled to legal equality because it disadvantage some cohabiting same-sex couples on welfare (by putting them on par with their opposite-sex counterparts) and you'll find it an uphill push.



No-one is telling you to be/get married. To even claim this is nonsense. Marriage is not lawful for same-sex couples in this country. Even if it were, you would have the freedom to marry or not marry, no one would be forcing you. No, this issue is about the welfare system and how it treats cohabiting welfare recipients.

Asherbella

Asherbella said on the 14th Dec, 2008



I doubt it's a matter of 'don't know how to commit'. It's perfectly acceptable for individuals (sexuality here becomes irrelevant) to conciously and openly embrace being single. Honest, I don't have to get myself a boyfriend to know I'm essentially a good, moral person. Couples break up for many reasons - lack of commitment not being top of the list. They break up because of domestic abuse, financial reasons, communication breakdown, alienation of affection, estrangement, drug abuse. Couples don't break up because of apathy. They STAY TOGETHER out of apathy.

Bren

Bren said on the 18th Dec, 2008



Brilliantly put, Ash. People should have a right to their chosen relationship status without being denigrated, looked down upon, having someone else's unreasonable expectations pushed upon them, or being treated as something they are not.

That principle should be applied to the welfare system in respect of cohabiting welfare recipients.

While some quarters spuriously blame the predicted disadvantage of such folk upon the marriage equality lobby, the root cause is essentially the hit-and-miss assumptions the welfare system currently makes about the relationship status of some cohabiting welfare recipients and the ingenerous financial support doled out to them as a result.

That needs to be changed for the better, not just for same-sex cohabiting welfare recipients but for all, as part of ensuring that the basic needs of the most disadvantaged (regardless of relationship status and sexuality) are fairly addressed.