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The NSW state government is opening up a relationship register for unmarried couples, including same sex couples (same sex marriage is not legal here). You can read all about it in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (via Frances on twitter). Essentially, ‘The register will make it easier for committed unmarried couples to access legal entitlements and prove they are in committed or de facto relationships.’ Sounds all good, right? I was pleased. Well, take a squiz at the criteria as listed in the article:

To be eligible to register a relationship on the Relationships Register, couples must:

– be in a committed, exclusive relationship.

– not be married or in another relationship that is registered or registrable.

– be 18 years of age or older; and one person must be a resident of NSW.

Could they have emphasised any more how much they reeeeeaaaaally don’t want any people in non-monogamous relationships registering? Like, at all? Possibly by saying ‘yeah we really don’t want those poly people messing up our register with their relationships that just don’t fit in with our ideas of what proper relationships are’. Which of course both reflects and reinforces wider societal attitudes towards poly people.

I’m also annoyed that you have to be eighteen to register. It’s possible to get married here before you’re eighteen if you obtain a court order. Assuming the article is accurate, (as opposed to the third point being a oversimplification) it’s pretty clear that this register doesn’t grant equal benefits to the under-18s.

I get really frustrated with stuff like this. In some ways it’s so great, but it leaves lots of people to fall through the gaps.

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