On 18 June 2008 the Coalition used its majority in the Senate to refer the Same-Sex Relationship (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws-Superannuation) Bill 2008 to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. This is part of a series of bills that will remove discrimination against same-sex couples. This bill aims to remove discrimination in the area of superannuation. The Committee is currently calling for submissions, and we need you, our community, to make your voices heard.

This is especially important because the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is urging members of the public to make submissions to the Committee in defence of the definition of marriage. Whilst this legislation is not about same-sex marriage, the ACL argues that introduction of a category of couple relationship that would include married couples as well as heterosexual and same-sex de facto couples, implies that marriage is no different to other relationships which express far less commitment and do not achieve the same benefit to society or to children. While our community, and the vast majority of society in general, do not agree with this view, the mobilising power of ACL can, and does, have an impact.

In 2004 the ACL mobilised its members to make submissions to a Senate inquiry in support of an amendment to the Marriage Act that defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Over 16,000 submissions were sent (compared to an average of about 1,000) ensuring the success of the marriage ban.

We are urging you, and your friends and family, to let the Government know that the ACL is not the only community in this debate with a loud voice. No matter whether it’s one sentence, one paragraph, or a few pages, please let the Senate Committee know that we need to be recognised as de facto couples, in an equal manner to our heterosexual friends and family, and that the category of interdependent to recognise our love and commitment is woefully inadequate.

The first bill deals with the following acts: Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Act 1973, Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act 1948, Federal Magistrates Act 1999, Governor-General Act 1999, Judges’ Pensions Act 1968, Law Officers Act 1964, Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948, Superannuation Act 1922 and the Superannuation Act 1976.
The deadline for submissions is 25 July 2008 and they should be sent to: Committee Secretary, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Department of the Senate, PO Box 6100,Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.

They should also be emailed as a MS Word or RTF attachment to legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

info: Visit www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/wit_sub/index.htm for more info.

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