Same Sex: Submissions
Thank you for undertaking this enquiry. I have been in a relationship for nearly five years with my same-sex partner. Despite the federal laws that prohibit same-sex marriage, we feel ourselves to be married and are certainly committed to each other for the rest of our lives. I served in the Australian Regular Army for 13 years, followed by two years in the Active Reserve and I am still in the Inactive Army Reserve. As such, I would ordinarily be entitled to receive a Defence Home Owner Scheme (DHOS) Loan. The DHOS is a programme operated by Defence Housing under the Defence Force (Home Loans Assistance) Act 1990, to provide an $80,000 home loan (from National Australia Bank) at a subsidised interest rate.
My partner and I own the land upon which we are currently building our home, as Joint Tenants. I applied for the DHOS loan in 2004 and made it clear that the Joint Tenant was my spouse. However, Defence Housing rejected our application on the grounds that a spouse must be of the opposite sex and that as I was a Joint Tenant with an individual who could not be my spouse, we were not entitled to the loan. We examined legal avenues to fight this determination, to no avail. We also wrote to several Ministers, including the Prime Minister and relevant Shadow Ministers. The Government restated the position that a spouse must be of the opposite sex and that therefore my partner and I are not entitled to a DHOS Loan. From our perspective, this is a statement that as I am homosexual, my service was somehow of less value than that of heterosexual members of the Defence Force.
This is one example of the everyday discrimination that same-sex couples face. My partner and I ask for nothing more than the same entitlements and responsibilities as a heterosexual couple in a similarly long term committed relationship. Please feel free to contact myself if you require further information.