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Assembly passes civil unions reforms

Date
Strengthened civil unions laws were passed in the ACT last night.

Strengthened civil unions laws were passed in the ACT last night. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Improvements to the territory's civil unions laws were passed by the Legislative Assembly last night.

The government's legislation passed with the support of the ACT Greens after a late night debate.

The Greens had previously feared the laws would undercut national efforts for marriage equality, but said last night they would vote in favour of the changes after talks with Canberra's gay and lesbian community.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell's bill will restore the role of ceremonies and celebrants in civil unions and give same-sex couples the same rights as people married under the Marriage Act.

The legislation will effectively reinstate the ACT government's original civil union laws, which were overturned in 2006 by the Liberal federal government, who said they were too similar to marriage. 

Labor MP Andrew Barr, who is openly gay and has been a strong advocate for reforms to civil unions laws, tweeted live from the assembly last night as the bill was passed. 

ACT Civil union laws now contain enhanced mutual recognition provisions (QLD & NZ schemes) and capacity to recognise more

ACT Civil Unions Bill passes 11 votes to 6

10 comments

  • Nice to know we have our priorities right. The government and greens claim they had vital legislation to pass before the election. Health in a shambles, AMC is a shambles, no electricity generating infrastructure and on it goes but we do have civil unions, enhanced human rights and needles in gaols.

    Commenter
    Irene
    Date and time
    August 23, 2012, 8:19AM
    • Irene - that is not a point of argument. By your reasoning, government would never act on issues of social justice because that's not what you deem to be a 'priority'. In fact, government is not solely about providing vital infrastructure, health and education and the like; it is about bettering the community as a whole and looking after socially marginalised and neglected groups. It does not automatically follow that the ACT government strengthening civil unions leads to worsening provision of services in other areas.
      But it is because of dismissive attitudes like yours that gay people affected by this (and their loved ones and their families and friends and neighbours and co-workers) have had to fight so long for their injustice to be heard.

      Commenter
      T
      Date and time
      August 23, 2012, 10:00AM
  • Nothing like attracting votes when your popularity is dropping and an election is coming up.

    Commenter
    Tony of Queensland
    Date and time
    August 23, 2012, 9:12AM
    • I believe in civil unions and gay marriage. I have suffered, so should they.

      Commenter
      Lord Lucan
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 23, 2012, 9:26AM
      • Vital legislation to pass, give me strength, when are an Assembly ministers homosexual and lesbian PERSONAL AGENDA ISSUES more important than citizens and ratepayers abysmal health, suburban filth and overgrown areas, dangerous and damaged roads, signs etc, public consultation re almost everything, real policing etc etc etc.
        Remember when you come to vote this is an Assembly members PERSONAL AGENDA.

        Commenter
        Nitro Gangster
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        August 23, 2012, 9:37AM
        • Irene. Health a shambles, no electricity generating infra structure. What the? Actually none of these are problems because when Tony Abbott implements his plan to slash twenty thousand jobs from Canberra the queues for hospital beds will be much shorter, primarily because the place will be decimated. Compared with the rest of the country ACTEW is brilliant. For you this might be an unimportant issue, for others it is of the highest importance. It is about human rights and many Australians would probably consider human rights to be an important issue. In fact a majority of people surveyed believe in this policy.

          Commenter
          Shenzencowboy
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          August 23, 2012, 9:43AM
          • Well done Canberra! Tasmania soon to follow, and then NSW! We will fight for our freedom and never give up.

            Commenter
            Awesomeness
            Date and time
            August 23, 2012, 9:52AM
            • Luckily the "gay and lesbian community" granted permission to the greens to vote with it. Phew....that was close

              Commenter
              WotTha?????
              Date and time
              August 23, 2012, 12:16PM
              • First world problems are funny. We get so upset when we can't do exactly as we please and make it Govts problem. Next the ACT Govt will try and make slow broadband a crime against humanity, or a crime to disagree with someone in case their feelings are hurt (aka racial vilification laws just passed). Why do we have local Govt at all in the ACT??

                Commenter
                Joel
                Location
                Canberra
                Date and time
                August 23, 2012, 12:41PM
                • why is the green labor coalition hell bent destroying the sanctity of marriage and destroying moral standards for the residences of the act.

                  Commenter
                  old goat
                  Location
                  canberra
                  Date and time
                  August 23, 2012, 1:04PM
                  Comments are now closed

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