Friday, 9 May 2008

Watered down same-sex laws pass in ACT

Laws granting same-sex couples legal recognition passed the ACT Legislative Assembly Thursday night, but the territory government is still furious it was forced to water down its legislation.

"This is not the outcome the ACT government wanted," Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said during the late night debate.

The government had wanted to recognise gay marriage through same-sex civil union ceremonies but abandoned the plan after the federal Labor government said it would veto the move.

"It is a matter of embarrassment to me that my party did not stand up for this fundamental principle," Mr Stanhope said.

But the government said the fact same-sex couples could now register their relationship was still an historic moment.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said he was very proud the legislation was passed by the assembly.

"Gay and lesbian couples in the ACT will now be able to affirm their relationship before friends and families and gain legal recognition of their partnership," he said.

Legal legitimacy would give same-sex couples increased access to superannuation, taxation and social security law reforms that heterosexual couples took for granted, Mr Corbell said.

"Although we have been unable to provide gay and lesbian couples the opportunity to affirm their relationship in a legally-recognised public ceremony, this is a historic moment on the inevitable path towards removing discrimination."


Gay activist questions govt decision
The ACT government has been forced to abandon plans to legally recognise same-sex civil union ceremonies after the Rudd government refused to support the move, upsetting the Australian Coalition for Equality.

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