The ACT Government, in particular Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and Attorney General Simon Corbell, are working hard to give homosexual Canberrans the opportunity to legally join together in a same-sex union. (ie. Marriage, without the actual term, Marriage)
In an effort to get it past the Federal Attorney General, Robert McClelland, they have been required to look at changing the rule that will only allow Canberra residents to partake in these unions.
So basically, you wanna have a ‘legal union’ with your same-sex partner? You gotta move here!
It does beg the question, why not just let them get actually married?
My guess is that they are not able to amend the Federal Marriage Act, so that is not a possibility. A State or Territory can still legislate to allow for same-sex couple to have the same rights as their hetero counterparts.
Mr Corbell clarified the difference between a gay marriage and a civil union.
The former is where same-sex couples are allowed to marry under the Marriage Act in the same manner as heterosexual couples; the latter is where a distinct “civil union” legal framework is set up for same-sex couples. The ACT is pushing for civil unions (called partnerships).
Victoria this week flagged new laws recognising committed homosexual relationships with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Under the laws, same-sex couples would also be eligible for part-pensions and other entitlements available to married heterosexual couples.
I’m glad that the ACT is taking the lead on this. We are, after all, a progressive territory of Australia. (Fireworks, Porn and Pot!). Maybe we can add poofters to the list 🙂
I think it’s just a matter of time before the Marriage Act is amended. But I don’t think it will happen whilst we have the current GG and PM. Disappointingly, Rudd has already specified that he is against changing the Marriage ACT to recognise same-sex couples.
Maybe the next PM will be a little more progressive.