A tale of two sisters, who can’t marry nor want to be

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Just shrug my shoulders… from England

Article from Mercator written by Joanna Bogle

Two English sisters have shared a home for years. It has been a real family home, serving different generations. In it, they have cared for various elderly and frail relatives over the years, provided hospitality, built up the links that help to form family networks.

If Joyce and Sybil Burden had proclaimed themselves lesbians and formed a “civil partnership” they would get a massive advantage: when one of them died, the other would receive the whole of the property, tax-free. But they are not lesbians and have no wish to pretend to be. They have a normal and natural bond: they are sisters. So, under our tax laws, when one dies the other will have to pay a massive 40 per cent tax on the property if she wishes to remain living there.

Oh, I know not everyone is married with a nice bunch of children. We don’t all fit a neat pattern. And every law, however well founded, will create some anomalies. But a just and stable society requires that the law notes the biological reality and the truth about our human condition: children are born of a male/female union. People have a right to know who they are, to have a name and to belong to a family, aware of who their brothers and sisters are. Marriage ensures this, and giving marriage a legal form and status protects us all, including the unmarried.

No, this isn’t a diatribe against homosexual or lesbian liaisons. It’s a plea for justice and common sense. Until fairly recently, the cry was that sexual activity was a private matter: “What people do in the privacy of their own bedroom is no concern of the law”. Just so. Let’s have no special status for those proclaiming that they have a “same sex union”.

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