Marriage equality not counselling vouchers please
Whilst applauding the Federal Government’s inclusion of same-sex couples in its announced 'relationship counselling scheme', advocates have suggested a more powerful message would be to grant marriage equality.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plans to offer a $200 relationship counselling voucher to newlywed couples (including same-sex and defacto) to strengthen relationships and avoid family breakdowns, is coming to fruition.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews confirmed the Federal Government's $200 voucher scheme would proceed with a 12-month trial of 100,000 couples starting on July 1.
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said AME welcomed the inclusion of same-sex couples in the scheme but to really encourage commitment, same-sex couples should be allowed to tie the knot.
"If the government is serious about encouraging commitment and resilience in same-sex relationships it should allow same-sex couples to marry."
"The solid legal foundation, social recognition and removal of stigma that all come with marriage equality would do far more to benefit same-sex couples than a $200 voucher."
Croome again called on the Abbott government to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
Croome went to express concern that anti-discrimination exemptions for faith-based counselling services had not been reviewed prior to the announcement of the voucher proposal.
"Many relationship counselling services are faith-based and have anti-discrimination exemptions which allow them to legally turn away same-sex couples."
"If the Government can give out counselling vouchers without discriminating, it should change the law to ensure the delivery of faith-based counselling services is based on the same principle."