Making the argument for a Civil Union Act
None of us likes being alone. Happiness is to be found for the vast majority of people by sharing life with a member of the opposite sex and our matrimonial statutory and case law have developed over many generations to safeguard the interests of parties to heterosexual unions.
In recent decades in the Western world, there has developed sympathy for that minority group, which finds happiness in a gay relationship and the law should respect this. The differences between heterosexual and gay relationships are of such importance that it would be wrong to fit them into our established matrimonial law.
There should be a Civil Union Act calling gay unions civil unions and not marriages.
There should be requirements to get a civil union licence should be set out such as advertising, age, health and consent, and may well be different from those required for a marriage licence.
Likewise, so may the rights and obligations of each party to the other in a civil union be different from those in a marriage. There should be prohibition against civil unions adopting children.
In the event of the relationship irretrievably breaking down, there should be spelt out a provision for dissolution, not divorce, and the property rights and obligations of each party; likewise, on the death of one party.
The referendum last Thursday was an interesting exercise and the issue is of sufficient importance that it would be appropriate for the Government — or a backbencher — to bring the matter before Parliament for debate.
WILLIAM M. COX