Tasmanian Coroners Office Takes 17 Months To Recognise Gay Relationship

A Hobart man who was not recognised as his late partner's next of kin has vowed to continue his anti-discrimination case after the Coroner finally accepted he was wrongly treated.

The Tasmanian Coroner's Office has recognised Ben Jago as next of kin of his late partner, Nathan Lunson, nineteen months after initially granting that status to Mr Lunson's mother.
As a result of the initial decision, Mr Jago lost control of Mr Lunson's burial and was only allowed to attend the funeral after negotiations between the respective families and as long as he sat down the back and did not speak.
Ben Jago said the Coroner's decision is "too little, too late".
"It has been nineteen months of heartache and trauma since the Coroner's Office made the mistake of not recognising my relationship to Nathan."
"I intend to continue the anti-discrimination case I have against the Coroner's Office because I want Nathan's final wishes respected and because I don't want this to happen to anyone else in the future."
Mr Jago's lawyer, Ben Bartl, said the Coroner's Office failed to apply the law as it stands in Tasmania.
"The Coroner's Office failed to grasp that same-sex partners have had equal rights under Tasmanian law since 2004, regardless of whether they are in a state civil union or not, and it is important the Coroner's Office be held accountable for the trauma their decision caused."
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said Mr Jago's case illustrates the need for marriage equality and for more education about the existing rights of same-sex partners.
"I call on the State Government to do more to ensure there is a better understanding of the existing rights of same-sex partners, both in the public sector and in the general community."
"I also urge Tasmania's federal politicians to heed Ben's case and vote to pass marriage equality as soon as possible."
"Marriage equality will reduce the likelihood of this kind of discrimination by providing married same-sex partners with the legal certainty that can come with a marriage certificate and by fostering greater respect for the legal rights of all same-sex partners including those who choose not to marry."
Mr Jago and Mr Lunson were engaged and had plans to marry in New Zealand.
For an article by Ben Jago about his experiences read this
For an article about the Coroner's decision read this.

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