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'Partner' or spouse? (letter)

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 Contents - Mar 2003AD2000 March 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: War in Iraq? Questions to be considered - Peter Westmore
Sydney Archdiocese RE test: behind one school's success story - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Ten years on former Anglicans enrich Church - Fr Peter Geldard
Vatican tells politicians: Don't hide your light - Michael Casanova
Good priest, bad priest - my faith remains - Frank Mobbs
Religious faith and modern culture: responding to a secular critic - Bill Muehlenberg
Liturgy: The Mass is the same sacrifice as the Cross - Msgr. Peter J. Elliott
New Age ideas: how Catholics should respond - Fr Peter Joseph
The media and evangelisation - Moira Kirkwood
Letters: Brisbane Synod (letter) - John F. Nolan
Letters: 'Partner' or spouse? (letter) - Peter Hannigan
Letters: Women's Commission (letter) - Leon Voesenek
Letters: Church renovation (letter) - T.E. Geraghty
Letters: Government proposals (letter) - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: Last things (letter) - Kevin McManus
Letters: New springtime (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: Apostolate (letter) - Barry O'Brien
Letters: Catholic websites (letter) - John Carroll
Letters: Third rite (letter) - Norm Power
Letters: Invalid (letter) - Maria Lossberg
Letters: New Age? (letter) - Dr Lance Eccles
Letters: Accountability (letter) - John Leach
Letters: Infallible teaching (letter) - Peter Howard
Poetry: From Tradition (For my mother) - Andrew Huntley
Books: Life's Worth: The Case against Assisted Suicide, by Arthur Dyck - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: Human Cloning And Human Dignity: Report of the President's Council on Bioethics - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: The Self Evident Proof, by Richard Kouchoo - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: The Latest from AD Books
Reflection: Lenten self-denial - at the very heart of our lives with Christ - Fr F.E. Burns

It seems that most, if not all, of forms for various purposes issued by government, social and commercial agencies, do not allow for the category of "spouse". Rather, persons in relationships, whether of legal marriage or of de facto status, are all referred to as "partners".

My enquiries to date indicate that this could well be due either to staff ideology, or as a result of complaints made by the non-married, even when the choice of "spouse" or "partner" was allowed for on the relevant form.

The matter may seem minor, but in a quite insidious way it is a denigration of the legal, social and religious status of marriage and the family, and offensive to those who value their marriage for what it is and for what it means. It is also a ploy of social engineering that, for the good of society at large, must be defeated.

I suggest that, where applicable, the word "partner" be erased and the word "spouse" inserted on all forms from whatever source; and that a note of correction and complaint be attached to the form on return. Also that any letter in which the word "partner" is used, instead of the appropriate term "spouse", be corrected and returned to the issuing agency with a polite note of complaint and of non-compliance.

This is a simple but most important matter. We must take action to resist the imposition of secular, humanist standards that are both offensive and demeaning.

Adamstown Heights, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 2 (March 2003), p. 14

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