Monday, June 22, 2009

Too much equality for same-sex couples?

From the Brisbane Times:

July 1 should be a day of celebration for the nation's same sex couples, when their relationships will become formally recognised under many federal laws.

But many gay and lesbian Australians are finding that equality comes at a price - literally.

From next Wednesday, when the law starts to recognise de facto gay couples, Centrelink will also begin taking into account gay partner's incomes when considering eligibility for benefits.


Ray Mackereth, publisher of Q News, a Brisbane-based gay and lesbian newspaper, said suddenly foisting equality on people who'd been discriminated against their entire lives didn't seem fair.

He said for many years elderly gay people had missed out on family tax benefits, medicare benefits, partner benefits or family assistance.

"Despite having paid higher taxes all their lives and not being recognised as a same sex couple, now they're going to receive less money in their retirement when their planning was done many years ago," Mr Mackereth said.

At the very least, they should be able to opt out of being considered married.

If they don't, or if they decide to get married, I don't see how their situation is any different from opposite-sex couples who choose to marry at particular times of life.

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