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Activists hope gay marriage debate will stir Japan

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Koyuki Higashi is slim, articulate and intelligent, things that make a would-be wife attractive to many in Japan.

If you check out the photos on her blog on http://koyuki-higashi.tumblr.com/ you would certainly agree that she is.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I hope they fight and I hope they are given the right to marry. Japan needs to stop thinking gays don't exist or are annoying, flamboyant talento that they can just laugh at. No one I've spoken to is against this so why aren't they allowed to marry here? Not a religious thing.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Anti homosexuality has deep roots in Asian culture. Marry, procreate and continue the family lineage have always been THE most important aspect of life . Will the thinking on gay marriage change? Hope so, but I wouldn't hold my breath for change to happen soon.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Anti homosexuality has deep roots in Asian culture.

True, but thank god killing gays is very uncommon in (East) Asia. The most vocal in East Asia are........

the Christians (surprise, surprise!!) - you'll find their vitriol and hate in places like South Korea and Hong Kong.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

It is but it isn't. More than a few famous monks here were well known for their liking of little boys and men.

The procreating thing... how many married folks here are not having kids these days? I 100% understand what you're saying with this but I think people fail to realise that some hetero couples don't want kids or can't have them. When will this nation change their outdated ideals?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Good on folks like her for standing against the blindly obedient masses to an ever increasingly corrupt and controlling government.

-3 ( +6 / -7 )

it would be nice to see japan take a leadership role in this debate and be the first asian country to legalize gay marriage or accept civil unions.

3 ( +8 / -4 )

it would be nice to see japan take a leadership role in this debate and be the first asian country to legalize gay marriage or accept civil unions.

It would be nice, but honestly, i'd expect Iran or Iraq to legalise it before Japan!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The large number of negative votes used here so far speak volumes about the 'tolerance' of some people in this forum.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

The large number of negative votes used here so far speak volumes about the 'tolerance' of some people in this forum.

There are a large number of negative votes because there are a large number of bigots on this forum. Not one valid reason has been given why gay marriage should not be allowed.

0 ( +8 / -7 )

LGBT people are human beings just like the rest of us. Their individual rights must be respected.

8 ( +12 / -3 )

"The large number of negative votes used here so far speak volumes about the 'tolerance' of some people in this forum."

"There are a large number of negative votes because there are a large number of bigots on this forum. Not one valid reason has been given why gay marriage should not be allowed."

Negative votes and bigots? Don't know what comments you two are reading.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Negative votes and bigots? Don't know what comments you two are reading.

The negative comments fluctuate because there are still some normal people on here. The bigots showed themselves on earlier discussions on this issue.

-2 ( +4 / -5 )

It's a nice dream, but I sincerely doubt that Japan will see any real chance until there's a change in the age demographic. Younger people are far more likely to shrug their shoulders and say, "Gay Marriage? Okay, whatever...", but ask an Ojii-san or Obaa-chan and you'll get a polite change of topic.

The older generation don't understand homosexuality as a full-time lifestyle (as opposed to an occassional "fling") in the same way that most people don't understand anyone wanting to live in a full-time BDSM relationship (a pair of handcuffs to spice stuff up in the bedroom... sure. Collars and chastity belts? ... non comprende). It's just incomprehensible.

Push the Obaa-chans and Ojii-sans too hard and they'll push back, and it'll get really unpleasant. My advice to the Japanese homosexuals is patience. At the moment things aren't bad (especially when compared to the active discrimination in many countries), and if you're satisfied with slow and gradual progress then gay marriage might be accepted within the next twenty years.

0 ( +5 / -4 )

It'd be great if Japan can start moving forward on gay marriage. As a non-Christian/Islamic nation, Japan doesn't really have much religious opposition... it's more traditional opposition, brush your gayness under the rug sort of attitude. But there's no reason why Japan needs to stay in the dark ages, here. Hoping gay marriage will become a serious issue here soon!

1 ( +6 / -4 )

there are no gay Japanese people so why would they want to allow gay marriages, wright!?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Fight for your happiness, people -- it's all you can do. Sitting back and accepting the negative should just not be an option. STAND UP! I hope this catches on and Japan starts to acknowledge that homosexuality is biological, and here to stay so long as people are, and allows for gay marriage. There's certainly little to non of the religious elements against it, so why not? Samurai in Japan long ago had no problems taking the male actors from Kabuki plays 'back stage', and world-wide of course it's been the same since humans were spawned.

More than anything, be happy with yourselves, people, and don't let others define it for you.

2 ( +7 / -4 )

Homosexuality is with humanity since humans evolved, but after thousands of years it is still hated!! Why? Simply because it is unnatural & unacceptable by most of the people in society! I have no religious ideas related to homosexuality and I think its not good to relate homosexuality with religion. And I also have no problem surviving together with the homosexuals in same society as an individual human being they have their right to live same like all of us. But accepting them in society is going to be 100% encouragement which is not good for future generations. Countries with long history and old culture like China or India will never accept homosexuals, Japan has old culture and they will definately not accept homosexuality so easily!

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Homosexuality is with humanity since humans evolved, but after thousands of years it is still hated!! Why? Simply because it is unnatural & unacceptable by most of the people in society!

This is called "circular argument"... It's not a legitimate argument because the conclusion is the premise.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Waxman

A couple of Wikipedia quotes for you to consider:

Rigveda, one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism says Vikriti Evam Prakriti (what seems un-natural is also natural), which some scholars believe recognises the cyclical constancy of homosexual/transsexual dimensions of human life, like all forms of universal diversities. Historical literary evidence indicates that homosexuality has been prevalent across the Indian subcontinent throughout history, and that homosexuals were not necessarily considered inferior in any way.

The political ideologies, philosophies, and religions of ancient China regarded homosexual relationships as a normal facet of life, and in some cases, promoted homosexual relationships as exemplary. Ming Dynasty literature, such as Bian Er Chai , has been argued to portray homosexual relationships between men as more enjoyable and more "harmonious" than heterosexual relationships.Like in Ancient Rome, homosexual relationships were prevalent in ancient China and were not regarded as morally deviant prior to the influence of foreign cultures. Writings from the Liu Song Dynasty claimed that homosexuality was as common as heterosexuality in the late 3rd century

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The most vocal in East Asia are........the Christians (surprise, surprise!!) -

@ Pukey2: Try saying that in the southern Philippines, or in Indonesia for that matter. You would be surprised what Muslims feel about homosexuality.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Back on topic please. The subject is same-sex marriages in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Equality is the right of all sections of a country.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Wouldn't hold your breath. My mother (in her 70s) has more liberal views on this than some of my younger coworkers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This needn't be (yet another) stick to beat Japan and the Japanese with. So far, just 11 countries in the world allow gay marriage (and about half of those have small populations). In the US, it's state by state, but hardly sweeping the country. The first country to introduce gay marriage was the Netherlands in 2001, so it's only been with us for 12 years.

It would be good if Japan joined this club sooner rather than later, though I doubt that it will.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Countries with long history and old culture like China or India will never accept homosexuals, Japan has old culture and they will definately not accept homosexuality.

So you're okay with eunuchs, then?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Gay

0 ( +3 / -3 )

alphaape:

The most vocal in East Asia are........the Christians (surprise, surprise!!) -

@ Pukey2: Try saying that in the southern Philippines, or in Indonesia for that matter. You would be surprised what Muslims feel about homosexuality.

If I were talking about the Philippines or Indonesia, I'd be using the name South-East Asia. UN definition of East Asia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_asia

rickyvee:

it would be nice to see japan take a leadership role in this debate and be the first asian country to legalize gay marriage or accept civil unions.

I think Nepal just might get to be the first in Asia.

Dedemouse:

Gay

Yes, you're clever, I'll give you that!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

waxman:

Homosexuality is with humanity since humans evolved, but after thousands of years it is still hated!! Why?

Because bigots is with humanity since humans evolved (sic).

-5 ( +3 / -7 )

There are people out there who were born a certain way and have a certain lifestyle. Thats a beautiful thing!

Thats how god made them and instead of attacking them and calling them names, why cant we just accept that's who they are? I mean, who are we to sit here and judge them?

Let them live their lives how they want and we should start getting on with our own rather than pointing our fingers with condemnation!

Who's with me!

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

Vietnam is now considering legal recognition for gay couples.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

GAYS in Japan were given a rainbow of hope after U.S. President Barack Obama publicly stated that he was in support of same-sex marriages.

-8 ( +5 / -12 )

Gays can marry, they can divorce also.

MONEY IN THE BANK

Disney can have outlandish wedding ceremonies

Divorce lawyers can make more money stimulate the economy !!!

I think it's a great idea for 2 men fighting over property and " Billabong " the family dog.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@whiskeysour

that's pretty funny, this is one being advocated by the lawyers...

but in all seriousness, folks, though i don't believe that gays should be discriminated against--as everyone is equal before the law in a democracy--marriage is not a social institution that has every had anything to do with homosexuality per se.

civil unions should suffice, no?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Hope isn't going to change anything. People have to push for change themselves. Good luck, folks.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The value of marriage has been demeaned in the West in so many ways over the past three or four decades that there really isn't even much point in getting married anymore. Dysfunction is the rule for nearly every family and with it the decline in so many important social indicators such as values, education, sense of community, and cohesiveness. Why would Asians want that?

Gay marriage is about money and spousal benefits - and also a way to force people to accept a sexual behavior that most people would not participate in themselves no matter how tolerant they say they are. So for America, a polarize society becomes ever more polarized and at war with itself. The benefits are great for homosexuals, but only negative for society as a whole.

People are free to engage in any consensual private conduct that they want. However it isn't right - through the coercive power of government - to be force others to become a part of it. All marriage, including heterosexual marriage - should not be overseen by government. Marriage is between those involved and their religion. If people would like to enter into a civil contract in which they can transfer benefits and assume obligations then any two (or more) people should be able to do so. The government should have very little if any say in peoples private affairs. The less the government involves itself in the ordering of society, the more freedom and the less conflict there will be for everyone.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I love all people both straight or not. But Marriage implies opposites. Anything else is a perversion. I Cr 13:8a, Love never fails !

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@ubikwit. Civil unions do not suffice, since there are hundreds of laws and benefits given to "married" couples only. (US case). If those laws were all changed to say "for those married or in civil unions", then yes, civil unions would suffice, but they aren't.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm afraid nothing will stir the Japanese bureaucrats into action. A country that can maintain idiotic rules such as "Any baby born within 300 days of a divorce is automatically the former husband’s", willfully ignoring DNA evidence to the contrary has zero chance of accepting gay marriage in my lifetime.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

said Bromley, who has a 2-year-old daughter with his husband.

I have nothing either for or against "gay marriages" - Live and let live! But I don't know if I'd have appreciated being the child of "two mummies" or "two daddies"... It's the children who will be the ones to suffer, especially here in Japan where we all know about the bullying that goes on in the schools...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I know many gay/lesbian who were married had kids and later gave into their sexual preference.

In a gay/lesbian relationship one part is the woman the other is the man. We mostly only recognise the odd one out(opposite role).

Met a gay about 30yrs ago and his lover and he was the main-designer for triumph ladies under-wear.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

sad lol! just cause obama supports it? who cares which politician/leader supports same sex. you should be you. die by being you, and have no regrets >___^

0 ( +2 / -2 )

borschtJul. 30, 2012 - 07:23PM JST Countries with long history and old culture like China or India will never accept homosexuals, Japan has old culture and they will definately not accept homosexuality.

So you're okay with eunuchs, then?

Eunuchs are not homosexuals. They are castrated people.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's the children who will be the ones to suffer,

Actually, I've read that children of same-sex marriages tend to have the same problems as those raised by different-sex marriages. And fewer than those children raised by a single parent of either sex.

"No research supports the widely held conviction that the gender of parents matters for child well-being," they conclude.

~ http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-01-21-parentgender21_ST_N.htm

Supports your idea:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/study-finds-children-of-same-sex-partners-face-difficulties-in-adulthood/

Shows why the above is weak:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zinnia-jones/regnerus-same-sex-parents-study_b_1595213.html

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gay marriage is about money and spousal benefits - and also a way to force people to accept a sexual behavior that most people would not participate in themselves no matter how tolerant they say they are.

Hmm. I think many heterosexuals would participate in the same sexual behavior as homosexuals.

So for America, a polarize society becomes ever more polarized and at war with itself.

Nothing wrong with having differing opinions. And in time tolerance grows.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Still find it odd when Japanese think something an American leader says is relevant to them. Gay marriage is not a problem to people who act grown up and have empathy for their fellow humans.

Those against have been indocrinated by religion, or by their community and family since childhood. Let the gays live in peace, they had to hide themselves for too long and in some places still do.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All marriage, including heterosexual marriage - should not be overseen by government. Marriage is between those involved and their religion.

Clearly you are misinformed.

There is no religious component in my marriage.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The government should have very little if any say in peoples private affairs.

If you're banging someone, that's a private affair, and nothing to do with the government.

If you're married to someone, that's a public affair. The information is a matter of official record. So it's everything to do with the government. The government has a say in people's private affairs insofar as it sets rules about who you can and cannot marry, and at what age you may do it. It also regulates divorce. This is lucky for most of us, because it's usually well ahead of religion in social matters, often by a century or two.

Example: The Catholic Church may be bitterly opposed to divorce, but most of the governments of Europe have permitted it for decades and that's the end of that.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I am wanting to know why all of this gay "rights" stuff matters. Someone answer me, as everywhere else I ask this, people turn it into a stupid debate.

I've been researching, and in the US, the only "rights" gay people do not have is: 1) in some states can't give blood, 2) gay people can't be a boyscout leader 3) gay people can't be "married"

Those really aren't huge deals. I mean, I understand there's some tax stuff with the whole marriage thing, but really. If you love someone and you are constantly with someone, isn't that enough? I'm fine with it being called a domestic partnership or civil union or whatever. That sounds a lot fancier than marriage. But what is the big deal about it? I mean, do they get taxed a lot more? Is it a money thing?

Or is it just that in the past decade everyone seems to want to throw all of their personal life out into the public and proclaim all the details from the heaven? You know, "pride" or "Freedom" or "individuality". Those arguments.

Frankly, sometimes all these "Gay pride" people seem more bigoted than the "bigot Christians".

Again, not trying to start an argument. I'd just like answers.

Also, what is it in Japan? Japan seems much more tolerant or just cares less. Are there rights or privileges that a marriage would grant?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@qazwsx

fair enough point.

i don't know what those laws and benefits are about, but in all likelihood only raising children should accrue any sort of special economic benefits from the public coffers (and under the law), considering the related costs and the responsibility we have to see that the next generation is able to cope successfully. at present, it's hard to see that happening in a sustainable manner. it should be the case that people in civil unions can pool their resources, file a single tax return, etc.

my point is that marriage (and the generally concurrent phenomenon of raising children) are social institutions that have evolved over thousands of years, in tandem with society. this is so obvious that we have never had to state it explicitly in the law.

and though marriage is not without its problems--many of which are derived from the specific social context at any given point in history--it must be protected from being eroded by what I see as a sort of hyper-inflated individualism with a right-to-claim-my-rights entitlement mentality that is outside of any consciousness of history.

some might say that the increased recognition of rights is a sign of progress in an evolving society, but I see this as regressive and having an effect of further adding wear and tear to an already tattered social fabric.

society has a structure, and though everyone in a democracy is equal before the law, it is not the case that individuals have can claim the right as individuals per se to be recognized as having a certain status in a social institution that is not historically connected to the basis on which that status is being sought. that would simply negate the already tenuous state of equilibrium inhering in society thanks to the publicly recognized social structure, which is readily apparent to all competent members of that society.

and that is why this issue is so divisive and is being widely contested at the ballot box and in the courts.

on the other hand, i would think that the concept of "civil union" might hold up under scrutiny in the courts as a "civil right" as provided for in the constitutional and amendments. and i don't think that such a status would cause a great deal of controversy in the public sphere.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I am wanting to know why all of this gay "rights" stuff matters. Someone answer me, as everywhere else I ask this, people turn it into a stupid debate.

For example: Sally Ride the famous US astronaut who died recently had a partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy. If she was married, Tam would get her pension. But because she isn't Tam gets nothing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stay on topic please. The story is about Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think gays are much much more accepted here than in say N America. The reason they doN't have marriage here is also totally different from N Am.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@2020hinsights

this is an interesting argument.

so it's about money, then, basically.

the fact that in a traditional family where the man works and the woman stays home and does housework and sees to the daily needs of the children is different from the scenario in which two adults whose relationship doesn't have anything to do with raising children (unless they adopt?).

it would seem that the pension system is an integral part of the social structure that evolved to accommodate the raising of families by married couples.

it is of course the case now that many mothers also work, and even some cases where it is the man that stays home and does the housework, etc., because the woman has a career.

in any case, with most "gay" couples, i don't think that the issue of children is prevalent, meaning that both of them would have a career.

the case you mention relates to a government pension, so involves public funds, making this a political issue.

granted, not all heterosexual couples that get married have children, so there is room for argument, but it seems to be based on some entitlement mentality.

basically, the government is cutting education and the poverty level of children is climbing across the country, but you are arguing for a pension for a gay partner. if it were a private-sector pension, you could negotiate a clause in your contract regarding a civil-union partner. but for a public pension, most people will see the "life-style" choice as something the individuals have to support on their own. do you really think that the average person is going to identify with the cause you are trying to make?

you are in the minority, and most people are not going to agree with recognizing the entitlement. that doesn't mean that you are technically wrong, but the courts will have to sort that out, in the final analysis.

but the bigger point here is that you have reversed the "government out of our bedrooms" argument that many gays seem to be making for a "government guarantee our entitlements" that is not often recognized.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

so it's about money, then, basically.

Not really. Gay couples don't want a civil union, they want to be married. However, being married also includes some financial benefits.

it would seem that the pension system is an integral part of the social structure that evolved to accommodate the raising of families by married couples.

Wrong. It has nothing about raising families; it is about getting old and retiring.

most people will see the "life-style" choice as something the individuals have to support on their own.

Why? The lifestyle choice of getting married is not available to most gay couples.

do you really think that the average person is going to identify with the cause you are trying to make?

Yes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan will have to change the law relating to pensions before gay marriage has any chance of getting a toe-hold. The present system whereby the wives of sararimen get a free pension is already insupportable, and cannot take the extra potential burden of gay partners also being granted free social welfare perks.

As ubikwit points out, the whole idea of free social welfare for dependents has its roots in the traditional man-works-wife-stays-home-and-looks-after-the-children scenario, which has now to all intents and purposes more or less disappeared; people cannot afford to have one partner permanently at home not earning. Yet the system still encourages women to keep their earnings under a certain level by penalising them with pension premiums, health insurance premiums and income tax if they earn over that amount. The DPJ tried to abolish this system when they introduced the child allowance (ie you get an allowance for having children, not for simply being married), but faced fierce opposition from hard core conservatives who tried to convince married women working PT that they were being hard done by.

There is no reason at all for any able-bodied person capable of earning a living to be given a free pension/health insurance/tax breaks simply on account of their being married, regardless of who they're married to and what they get up to in the bedroom. Government perks should come in only when children enter the equation.

As for the other benefits of marriage - inheritance, joint assets, recognition as a family member when one partner is hospitalised, etc. - there is no reason that I can see why any two people who want to be legally recognised as a couple should not be.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Government perks should come in only when children enter the equation

I still don't know why I should be paying for your kids.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I still don't know why I should be paying for your kids.

If the country as a whole wants to encourage folk to have kids then the country as a whole needs to pay for the necessary incentives. Kids are the future; my kids are now both out there paying taxes hand over fist to support the society you and I live in. Look on it as investment rather than paying.

And consider that the way things stand at present, you and I are paying to provide social welfare for women who can afford not to work. I don't see why we should be paying for that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cleo

Government perks should come in only when children enter the equation.

Really? First of all it isn't a perk. Sarariman has been paying pension fees throughout his working life. If you get life insurance it's the same deal. Secondly, why should it only when children enter the equation? It's about retirement, not child support.

3 ( +2 / -0 )

If the country as a whole wants to encourage folk to have kids then the country as a whole needs to pay for the necessary incentives.

The country as a whole want to encourage folks to have lots of things, like internet, and yet non-internet users don't subsidize internet users.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First of all it isn't a perk. Sarariman has been paying pension fees throughout his working life. If you get life insurance it's the same deal.

Getting something for nothing purely as a result of who you're married to certainly is a perk. You're right that Mr. Sarariman has been paying pension fees throughout his working life, but he's paid the same amount regardless of whether his wife could afford to stay at home or had to go out to supplement the family income, thereby making herself liable to pay pension premiums in her own right. That means the sarariman with a working wife is subsidising the sararimen whose wives do not work; he's paying to give another man's wife a free pension, while his own wife must pay her own premiums (which also go towards subsidising the non-working wife).

why should it only when children enter the equation? It's about retirement, not child support.

As a country we want people to have more children, hence we encourage them to have kids and help them look after those children, whether by doling out child allowances or building and running public schools. A woman who chooses to have children necessarily needs to take some time out from her working life, which puts her at a disadvantage compared to her male coworkers - who may choose or not to take time off work for childcare; for a woman, there's no choice, if you're pregnant you have to take a certain amount of time off. If we're into encouraging families to have more babies, then monetary incentives to cover that period of enforced non-work make sense. Assuming that a man and a woman both enter the work force at 20 and retire at 60 but the woman has taken a total of several years off to produce and care for two or three kids, there's going to be a difference in premiums paid and thus in the amount of pension each is entitled to; so 'child support' is closely linked to pensions.

Nessie, I don't think I agree with you that the country as a whole wants to encourage people to have Internet. Lots of business enterprises obviously want people to have an Internet connection so that they can use it to market their goods, and lots of individuals see having an internet connection as vital to their way of life; but the country as a whole? Nah, I'm not buying it. A better example would have been solar panels; the country as a whole wants less reliance on fossil fuels and more recently nuclear energy, and sure enough, the govmint offers subsidies to people installing solar panels on their roofs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

For example: Sally Ride the famous US astronaut who died recently had a partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy. If she was married, Tam would get her pension. But because she isn't Tam gets nothing.

Couldn't Sally have made a will saying something like Tam could get her money? I don't know about Wills and such yet, so don't patronize me if that doesn't work that way..

Why? The lifestyle choice of getting married is not available to most gay couples.

Doesn't that make it the gay-couple's choice, then? They chose that lifestyle path, and marriage is not available on that path?

So if a government went and changed laws so that "civil unions" or whatever had all the same benefits of "marriage", would gay people still try to get married, or would they be happy with "civil union"?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

cleo

Getting something for nothing purely as a result of who you're married to certainly is a perk. You're right that Mr. Sarariman has been paying pension fees throughout his working life, but he's paid the same amount regardless of whether his wife could afford to stay at home or had to go out to supplement the family income, thereby making herself liable to pay pension premiums in her own right.

If she works, she pays as well. And the resulting pension will be more. It's the same as a private life insurance pension. You pay in and when you retire you get a pension. At that stage, cleo, would you say she is getting money that she doesn't deserve. But he sees it as providing for his family (whether they have kids or not). If she dies, he still gets the money. If he dies they she still gets the money. Nothing unfair there. Whether private or public, the scheme is designed to give you peace of mind in your old age. It isn't related to kids.

As a country we want people to have more children,

Up for debate, but I agree the shrinking birth rate may be a cause of concern. (It may not. Japan can ease immigration - but that's a different topic.)

hence we encourage them to have kids and help them look after those children, whether by doling out child allowances..

Yes. Agree. That is an incentive designed to encourage people to have kids.

or building and running public schools.

This is a service that most societies would say is essential. I wouldn't say it encourages people to have kids, but we can't have an uneducated population.

If we're into encouraging families to have more babies, then monetary incentives to cover that period of enforced non-work make sense.

Hmm. I don't necessarily agree that you need to go that far. And I would call it a perk. And it has nothing to do with the pension scheme.

Also, where I work, many women go on maternity leave and continue working when that finishes. And it isn't because they need the money.

cattzs

For example: Sally Ride the famous US astronaut who died recently had a partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy. If she was married, Tam would get her pension. But because she isn't Tam gets nothing.

Couldn't Sally have made a will saying something like Tam could get her money? I don't know about Wills and such yet, so don't patronize me if that doesn't work that way..

Yes, she would get her existing money. But she can't get her pension, which keeps getting paid out while a partner is alive. If she was married she would.

Why? The lifestyle choice of getting married is not available to most gay couples.

Doesn't that make it the gay-couple's choice, then? They chose that lifestyle path, and marriage is not available on that path?

That's called Hobson's choice.

So if a government went and changed laws so that "civil unions" or whatever had all the same benefits of "marriage", would gay people still try to get married, or would they be happy with "civil union"?

Depends who you talk to. Some are happy enough with the same treatment/benefits. For others it isn't about the benefits, they want to have the option and they want to call it 'marriage'.

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