Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MCV - "2008: Year of Recognising Love" by Corey Irlam

2008 was a historic year for the LGBTI community in Victoria. It was the year that the government recognised our love.

The government recognised our loving relationships through a state relationships register, a registration that will automatically be recognised by the 85 laws altered by the federal government to bring same-sex de facto relationships equal with heterosexuals’.

There is no more needing to prove interdependency through joint financial statements or photo albums: Victorians can now simply declare their relationship on the register and show their registration certificate as proof of their relationship.

Now, many will say this isn’t a major achievement, because it’s not equal to marriage laws. But relationship registers or civil unions are not designed to be a marriage substitute. They’re different and provide a choice of relationship recognition to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

We would call on the government to make changes soon to allow one partner to live outside the state. They should also automatically recognise a relationship created in the ACT, Tasmania or even the UK. But these small changes shouldn’t diminish the excitement many couples will feel knowing they have a way to formalise their relationship.

Perhaps the largest reforms in Victoria this year were that of equal parenting laws. Nationally, the government recognised both mummies as parents of their children.

In Victoria, changes to laws regulating artificial reproductive treatments were altered to allow single women and lesbian couples to have children through IVF. Laws also recognise two dads who enter into an altruistic surrogacy arrangement.

The government has yet to indicate what it will do regarding adoption laws, but hopefully they will take similar steps towards equality.

The changing of these laws will have long, lasting effects in Victoria. The equal treatment in law is often the first step to the equal treatment in society. So let’s celebrate our love, knowing that the government does, too. Maybe one day soon, society will as well.

Corey Irlam is spokesperson for the Australian Coalition for Equality.

[Link: Original Article ]

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