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Former Chief Justice calls for overhaul of same-sex laws

Former Chief Justice calls for overhaul of same-sex laws

RESULTS FROM a nationwide community consultation on same-sex relationships have provoked the former Chief Justice of the Family Court to call for support for same sex relationships under federal…

RESULTS FROM a nationwide community consultation on same-sex relationships have provoked the former Chief Justice of the Family Court to call for support for same sex relationships under federal law.

Former Chief Justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson QC, has called for “sufficient courage” and “leadership” in the law to help end discrimination against same-sex relationships.

The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby report found that discrimination over legal and financial entitlements topped concerns of gay and lesbian couples. The report concluded that it is important that same-sex couples are able to marry or form a civil union in order to symbolically and legally recognise the relationship.

The report found that 51 per cent of the 1,300 gay and lesbian respondents said the main reason they wanted equal recognition of their relationship was to access legal and financial entitlements open to heterosexual couples, while 46 per cent most wanted equality, including the right to marry.

The former Chief Justice said he believed same-sex couples deserved the same legal rights to enter marriage as other Australians. “This report confirms my long-held belief that all that the members of the gay and lesbian community want is to be treated equally, with the same legal rights to enter marriage and other relationships as any other Australian. It is a shameful indictment of the leadership of this country that institutionalised discrimination continues against them,” he said.

He called on Australian political leaders to implement laws that prohibit discrimination. “It is to be hoped that we will eventually have leaders with sufficient courage to ensure that there is no discrimination against any Australian on the basis of gender or sexual preference. This report is a call for such leadership.”

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