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The Forum > Article Comments > Equity, choice and inclusion > Comments

Equity, choice and inclusion : Comments

By Rodney Croome and Wayne Morgan, published 6/11/2008

Australia’s civil partnership registries can and should exist side-by-side with opposite and same-sex marriage, and with legal protections for de facto couples.

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Thank you for your article, Rodney.

Surely a system like that in place (for heterosexuals) in France would be ideal? There, in keeping with the important separation of Church and State, the couple is wed in the Town Hall by an official. You receive your marriage certificate there and not in the church. It is then the couple's choice whether or not to undertake a ceremony in a church. Were this the case in Australia, we would have an equal (secular) system for hetero- and homosexual unions, and the churches could continue to perform their own nuptial ceremonies as an adjunct practice.

Clearly, Justice Kirby's point was about the dignity of registering yourself and your partner like a dog. At least with the above system it offers homosexuals equal access to state-recognised unions, which consequently injects a dignity that is otherwise certainly missing.

Perhaps the disagreement is ultimately over whether gay unions are to be facsimiles of heterosexual marriage, or whether they should be, could be or are an ‘other’ that permanently stands outside of ‘normal’ society (given heterosexuality is the dominant paradigm). Justice Kirby’s statement indicates that he sees himself as a proudly ‘normal’ homosexual man – a man who loves a partner who just happens to be a man, but is no different in all other respects. I also fall into this category. And I think it is surely for the recognition of this type of gay relationship that we are ultimately fighting.

I also disagree on another point: Births, Deaths and Marriages already offers heterosexual couples the option to wed in secular surrounds. Civil partnership registries would seem only to create a second, equivalent option and nothing new.

It would seem that calling for a three-tiered system would do more to fragment, rather than augment, a politically weak voice (by virtue of its numbers, not its validity).
Posted by Martin_C, Monday, 10 November 2008 11:01:13 AM
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