From Functional Family to Spinster Sisters: Australia's Distinctive Path to Relationship Recognition
The University of Sydney Law School
University of Technology, Sydney, Faculty of Law
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 24, 2007
"Gay marriage" is often used as a short-hand in popular discourse to stand for any and every form of same-sex relationship recognition. Yet even in some jurisdictions that have now opened marriage to same-sex couples, marriage was not first, and is not the primary, form of relationship recognition. Same-sex relationship rights are in a state of enormous flux with considerable variation apparent among the models, strategies, and substantive effects of recognition around the world.
This Article reflects on the approaches that Australia, and to a lesser extent New Zealand, have taken to relationship recognition, focusing in particular on the ways in which they have differed profoundly from what has happened in the United States. Specifically, the relationship recognition debate in Australia through the 1990s was characterized by the absence of any real interest in marriage and instead focused on developing more functional and adaptive models of relationship recognition, primarily through presumption-based models.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: same-sex relationship recognition, lesbians, gay men, same-sex couples, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, de facto relationships, interdependency, family law
JEL Classification: K11, K19
Date posted: August 10, 2007