March 2005 - The Commission views this Discussion Paper as a first step in its examination of human rights and family status and as an opportunity to expand awareness of human rights protections based on family status.
Family and marital status
The Code includes two grounds that provide protections for persons in relationships: marital status and family status. “Marital status” is defined in section 10 of the Code as “the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage”, including both same-sex and opposite sex relationships.
“Family status” is defined as “the status of being in a parent and child relationship.” This can also mean a parent and child “type” of relationship, embracing a range of circumstances without blood or adoptive ties but with similar relationships of care, responsibility and commitment.
The grounds of marital and family status intersect to cover a range of family forms, including lone parent and blended families, as well as families where the parents are in a ‘common law’ relationship.