No real recognition for same-sex couples by government

By Alison McDonald

Finally, the federal government is planning to extend legal rights to same-sex couples. Unfortunately, by including all dependents, the victory won by gay and lesbian rights activists.

While the state has no place in the bedroom, it does have a dominate role regarding our financial positions. Come tax time, dependents are declared as spouse and children; the traditional views of the Christian household are imposed on those living outside the mould. A contemporary family is not one father, one
mother, two children and a pet. Common to a contemporary family are step-parents, step-siblings, common-law partners, same-sex partners, and, increasingly, grandparents. When it comes time to fill out the dreaded t-1 forms, who of the above gets listed as a dependent? These issues are being addressed at a conference at Queen’s University this week. A popular idea is to include dependents as those who actually are dependent.

If you rely on someone else to provide your basic needs, then by definition you are a dependent. If the government were to adopt this obvious description of dependent, T-1s would be filled with an amazing array of how people actually live. Not only would same sex couples receive financial benefits, but so would parents raising children outside the nuclear family and adult children who support their parents.

Changing the dependent clause is an effective method of granting same-sex couples equal rights. However, by including all other dependent living arrangements the government is effectively diminishing the value of the very cause for the redefinition. Same-sex couples should be recognized by the state as a legally binding and significant relationship equal to the unique relationship between husband and wife. This relationship is different from a parent- child relationship: the latter relationship is one of duty; a relationship between a man and man, or woman and woman is a relationship of choice, just as a husband-wife relationship. If there are laws honoring and protecting husbands and wives, these same laws should protect same-sex couples. Changing the definition of dependent gives each couple equal treatment at tax time, but it does not treat the relationships equally throughout the rest of the year. Proposing changes to the definition of a dependent is only the first step in granting equal right for equal quality of relationship.

Our government is doing a fantastic job of fence-sitting regarding sensitive issues: they attempt to grant rights without recognition. Once again the government is addressing the topic and not the issue. Do not let yourself be lulled into submission. Demand of your country’s leaders honest and equal treatment of all people.

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