On changing names - about as OT as you can get

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Wed Mar 12 20:20:47 EST 2003

---Original Message From: johanna
> > I totally agree with Melissa on this one (she is so right). In 
> > Australia, a  lot of government forms have become so 
> "inclusive" they 
> > don't actually let  you specify spouse as spouse, but only give the 
> > option of saying "partner".  We caused some trouble by 
> crossing it out 
> > and writing "spouse".
> I guess what I don't understand is why the distinction is so 
> important--I mean, if you say "partner" (holding aside the 
> issue of business partners & such), people will know that you 
> are committed to this person. Why does it matter if you are 
> legally bound or not? What additional information does it add 
> that you want conveyed? I could, perhaps, understand for 
> census forms & such because maybe they just want statistical 
> data. But beyond that, I'm not sure what benefits it would offer.

Eh?  It offers a *lot* of extra information.  First, it tells that you
followed societal convention--you may not feel like that's a good thing, but
it *is* information.  Second, it tells that you have certain specific legal
obligations to each other.  Third, it tells anyone who wants to date you
that doing so will involve significant complications (even if you are
willing), including that a legal relationship has to be legally dissolved
before a new one can be instated.  Fourth, it represents the foundation of a
familial unit--one likely to include a desire and plan for children.  Fifth,
it indicates governmental approval of your union--again you might feel that
government has no business approving of your union, but it *is* information.
And finally, for us religious types, it signifies a religious covenant that
involves us and God and specific promises and obligations.

Jacob Proffitt

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