Victorians in gay relationships can now apply to have their unions included on a Government register.
Couples listed on the Victorian Relationships Register will be recognised by the state's courts.
Unmarried heterosexual couples can also be added to the register.
The Attorney-General, Rob Hulls says he is bewildered by opponents of the register.
"The scheme we launched today was never about undermining marriage or about creating its poor cousin," he said.
"It's simply about giving the dignity of formal recognition to those who seek it. Of saying yes, the community respects your relationships and your decision to commit to it."
Victoria's Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke says the register reduces the discrimination felt by unmarried couples.
"So in a sense what this commitment does is to provide an insurance policy to people who have in the past experienced discrimination, unequal access to the law," she says.
"Who've had to fight so unfairly to assert their rights as partners for things that other people take for granted."
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