The Evermore Pledge is a new approach to same-sex ‘marriage’ that has been carried out in Australia for the first time.
Carly Naughton, 31, and Alee Fogarty, 28, from the Gold Coast in Queensland were the first couple in the country to ‘tie the knot’ using the new contract on July 1.
Though the couple aren’t considered ‘married’ in the eyes of the law, the Evermore Pledge is a legally-binding contract that closely mirrors the components of the Australian Marriage Act of 1961.
This awards Naughton and Fogarty (almost) equal legal rights and protections to any other married couple in areas of finance, child custody, next of kin, social security, superannuation and taxation.
Mia Freedman talks marriage equality with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Post continues below.
These are all the logistics automatically taken care of when a husband and wife sign on the dotted line to be married.
They are also the details left behind when a same-sex couple receives recognition in the form of a civil partnership.
“The only state that has civil partnership agreements enforceable as a contract in court is Victoria,” the Evermore Pledge website claims.
Importantly, the Evermore Pledge is not a new law, it simply calls upon existing laws to create a contract of partnership.
It’s also not described as a ‘replacement’ for same-sex marriage. Instead, it is an “interim tool to equip same-sex couples with the legal protections they need”.
On the surface, the marriage equality debate is one of human rights and recognition. But, for those affected, it’s about the realities and practicalities of everyday life.
Being denied admission into a hospital room to see your lover of 10 years because you’re not ‘family’ and your relationship isn’t recognised in the eyes of the law.
Being denied access to your lifetime partner’s superannuation after they’ve died because you’re considered a ‘non-dependent’, until the laws changed in 2008.
Being unable to adopt a child in certain states because your relationship wasn’t recognised as ‘legitimate’ by the State, until only November last year.
The laws are complex, ever-changing and difficult to understand. The rights of same-sex couples differ between every state. And, all across Australia, they differ drastically to the rights of those in heterosexual relationships.
The Evermore Pledge is a way to protect same-sex couples in the eyes of the law. The problem being, it’s an extra, expensive, step that wouldn’t be necessary if the government would just make same-sex marriage legal.