5 Things To Think About with Same-Sex Marriage
The Australia wide plebiscite vote on same-sex marriage is set to close on 27 October. None of us are obligated to vote and the government is free to ignore the result. Many however consider the issue to be very important and if that is you, here are some things you may wish to consider:
- Despite 10 years of law reform, same-sex couples still today do not have the same rights as married couples. In a same-sex separation, any person who doesn’t have some control of the money is still very vulnerable to exploitation from the person who does. We have laws to guard against this abuse of power but these laws are only available to “married” couples.
- In a nutshell, the “no” campaign states that granting marriage rights to same-sex couples forces people who believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman to abandon those beliefs, or face legal persecution if they do not. The “no” vote therefore claims that approving same-sex marriages offends constitutional rights of freedom to religious and social beliefs.
- The Australian Constitution specifically states that the Government cannot pass any law which discriminates against persons upon the basis of religion. The Government can, and has, made equal opportunity laws prohibiting discrimination on grounds including religion, race, gender and sexual orientation but this is largely restricted to commerce and employment and is not ingrained in the Constitution in the way religion is.
- In many ways this debate is analogous to debates on other hot topics such as climate change. Governments are often required to make decisions which potentially impact unfairly on either people or the environment.
- Interestingly, the decision for the small country of Slovakia (5 million people) to separate and become independent from the former Czechoslovakia was made peacefully in 1993 on a Friday afternoon in parliament without any consultation of the people at all. In the following 20 years, the country has grown to become an economic powerhouse and the envy of many of its neighbours.
One has to wonder what all the fuss is about. The reality is that our community and indeed the whole world are never in balance. Consequently, the goal can never be equality for absolutely everyone, but rather the choice which promises to work best for the community as a whole.
Michael Zande is a Queensland Law Society accredited family law specialist with over 25 years experience in the field. He is the principal at Zande Law Solicitors, Suite 7, Norwinn Centre, 15 Discovery Drive, North Lakes. To contact Michael for advice, phone 3385 0999.
The information in this article is merely a guide and is not a full explanation of the law. This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this information. When making decisions that could affect your legal rights, please contact us for professional advice.