Monday, December 19, 2005


Hmmm... thanks to Norm for passing this on from the Guardian. I'm not a great Tatchell fan - though he can have his moments - but I did find this intriguing.
It's wrong to deny legal rights to close friends who have a strong, supportive bond, just because they are not lovers and don't have sex.

Similar legislation exists in Tasmania. Legal rights are granted to all relationships of mutual devotion and support, including gay couples, carers and unmarried heterosexual partners. It works Down Under; why not here?

As well as allowing people to nominate any significant person in their life, my civil-commitment pact would offer flexibility and choice. Partners could pick and mix from a menu of rights and responsibilities. Rights concerning tax contributions and social-security benefits would have to be linked together to prevent people claiming the benefits of relationship registration and avoiding the costs. Otherwise, there is no reason why two people should not be free to construct their own unique partnership agreement, tailored to their needs.

We see around us a huge variety of relationships and lifestyles. There are couples who live together, and those who live apart. Some share their finances; others maintain financial independence. The law should reflect and support these diverse relationship choices. The one-size-fits-all model of relationship recognition - exemplified by marriage and civil partnerships - is no longer appropriate.
What do others think? Personally, as someone who has been in a long-term relationship for a long time, I think that some greater flexibility of establishing "legal commitments" would be helpful. But surely a lot of this is covered by making a will? However, there are the problems of information exchange and pension rights - legislation has SO not caught up with these. Surely there could be some kind of document that could encompass such issues? Its a topic that clearly deserves further debate, despite - or maybe even because - of the recent legislation change in the UK.

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