Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 886 ..
Smyth says that his amendment does not create a hierarchy. So you ask the question: well, what does it do? It creates a notion, it creates a concept, it creates a perception, it creates a view, it expresses a world view, that there is a hierarchy of relationships, and that at the top of the hierarchy the only really legitimate relationship is that which you describe as two people living together in a legal marriage.
You go on then and find the need to separate from that subset of partnerships, partnerships between people of the opposite sex living together as spouses on a genuine domestic basis, and two people of the same sex living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. Why do you feel the need to narrow the definition of domestic partner or domestic relationship, or domestic partner and domestic partnership in your terminology, and reintroduce concepts designed to distinguish between the legitimacy, status, worth or value of different sorts of domestic relationships?
It is a device-you need to be honest about it-designed to devalue the very principle which the legislation is challenging, namely that we have no basis and no right to be judgmental around the varied relationships which are part and parcel of humanity and human life. And that is what you are doing. You are being judgmental, you are imposing a judgment-
Mr Smyth: No I'm not.
MR STANHOPE: You are. You are imposing a judgment on the value of different sorts of relationships.
MRS DUNNE(4.13): Mr Speaker, I support the amendment. Without reflecting on the previous vote, I would like to go back to a comment made by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister said, "Everyone talks about the fact that this piece of legislation is about marriage, and it isn't, and really what we want to do is make things more equal". No-one debates that; no-one debates the issues. The amendments to the Casino Control Act and to the Legal Practitioners Act are simple, straightforward and sensible. But the crux of all this hangs on the definitions.
I do not care whether you order it (a) (b) (c), (b) (c) (a) or (c) (b) (a). It is not a hierarchy. Different types can be considered equal under the law, and I do not have a problem with that. The amendment contains the word "or". One category is not better than another one. Everyone has their own private views about whether one sort of relationship might be more appropriate in a particular circumstance. But we are not talking in the amendment about private views. We are recognising the fact that there are array of domestic relationships.
Some of the people who currently fall into a particular sort of domestic relationship feel rather uncomfortable about the fact that in some way their relationship is being diminished by this legislation. The legislation is taking away as much reference as possible to de facto relationships and legal marriages under the Marriage Act and the majority of the people in this territory whose domestic relationships fall into these categories feel somewhat uncomfortable. Because they feel somewhat uncomfortable does not mean that we should do nothing, and no-one here is advocating that we do nothing. But we need to recognise that the majority of people in the ACT have a