Everyone has an issue these days, but I won’t apologise for banging on about this one. It’s important to me, and this is MY blog, so read it or not….
I got married a year and a bit ago. It was great. Fabulous party, best dress ever, and the opportunity to tell my nearest and dearest that I love my bloke. Maybe not for everyone, but everyone should have the right to do it if they want to.
The repercussions of unequal acess to marriage are not ones that many people think about, so here is on example from real life that really sucks. And btw, when I bang on about marriage, I also want equal recognition of defacto relationships too. When marriage comes, defacto recognition will have to be part of the deal.
My friends mother has been with her partner for more than a decade, maybe two. Susan and Eva (names changed to protect privacy) own a home together, and have shared finances. Nearly five years ago Eva had multiple strokes, which left her needing nursing home care. Even finding a decent nursing home was difficult for Susan because most of the good facilities are church run, and wouldn’t take a sick lesbian. But eventually they found a place, and Eva has been well cared for. She is showing some improvement, and though she can’t walk, she can read, and communicate, and spend quality time with her friends and family. But she can’t come home.
Nursing home care is subsidised by the government for a period of five years. After that time access to the subsidy is means tested. A heterosexual couple, married or defacto, would have their family home exempted from the means test – but a same sex couples home is considered an asset – and is included as an asset in the means test.
So, Susan is going to have to sell her home and cash in her super to pay for Eva’s ongoing care. Just because her relationship isn’t “real” in the eyes of our legal system.
Now do you see why this is so important ?
If you read this far and are still with me, there is something you can do about it. Saturday August 13th is a National Day of Action. Details follow.
In Sydney on Saturday August 13 2005, we will be holding a rally commencing in Taylor Square at 1:00 pm and marching down Oxford Street to Hyde Park. There will be a number of speakers including Dr Kerryn Phelps, Clover Moore MP, Anthony Venn-Brown and Senator Kerry Nettle who last year tried unsuccessfully to amend the Marriage Act Amendment Bill to include all couples. We now have 37 groups supporting the rally.
I thought I would give you an update on plans for that day. Life has been difficult over this last week or two negotiating gay politics. Support from some of the peak organisations in the gay community remains rather precarious. However, the rally will go ahead and we have had good publicity in the gay press including coverage of the rally in the Star (SSO) and of AME in SX magazine as well as my own letter in the Star under the heading of AME’s Aims. (You will have to page down in the last two links.) As well, I was interviewed last Friday on air on 3CR, a Melbourne community radio station.
What Peter Furness and I need most from you is moral support. The effort is rather draining but we are forging ahead with the goodwill and support of many people. We could use financial support for the day. However, we expect the basic costs to be covered easily. What we would like to do is make this a visually interesting event to attract the attention of the media. I want to see a forest of pink hearts. I will be following the tradition that Luke has established, appearing in a navy blue suit with a pink carnation in the lapel. It will be, like every wedding, a celebration!
I have set out AME Sydney’s objectives for the rally for the benefit of those groups who are supporting the rally. These have been communicated to the NSW GLRL. I thought they would be of interest to AME members. I would certainly appreciate your feedback.
The objectives of the Sydney event are to contribute to the national day of action for marriage equality by conducting an event which will assertively and confidently affirm the value of LGBTIQ relationships and communicate that value to the wider community in order to advance the campaign for relationship equality.
Inclusive – open to all who support our objectives
Looking forward, but not ignorant of the history of August 13
Apolitical, but not ignorant or unappreciative of those who support our objectives politically
A protest rally
A partisan political event
An event purely for the gay community, or seen to be only for that community
An event to promote causes other than relationship equality, as worthy as they may be