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Discussion Paper: Same-Sex Couples and the Law

NCJ Number
Date Published
18 pages
New Zealand's Human Rights Act has outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation since 1993, but the act does not override other legislation and the result has been inconsistency in the treatment of same-sex couples.
The status of same-sex couples has recently been tested in court in several cases regarding, for example, whether a same-sex partner should have to pay maintenance for children she and her ex-partner cared for together during their relationship. The status of same-sex couples has also come up before Parliament in submissions related to the property regime for de facto couples. New Zealand law dealing with same-sex couples is analyzed in terms of rights and responsibilities and issues concerned with domestic partnerships, children, entitlements, relationship breakdowns, and death. The discussion follows a question-and-answer format.