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Australian Capital Territory to Consider Civil Unions

Timothy Kincaid

December 5th, 2007

UPDATED: See Below

The Australian Capital Territory is that area in which the federal Austrailian government is conducted. Like the District of Columbia, it has self-governance but its decisions can be overruled by federal authority.

In 2006 the ACT legislated for civil unions for gay couples. This action was overturned by the federal government. Overturning ACT decisions is not a common practice.

A new government has been voted into power, and part of their campaign was on providing some form of recognition to same-sex couples. However, the Rudd government is not in favor of marriage or of civil unions. They propose that states offer registration of couples and provide benefits similar to de-facto relationships.

The ACT government does not view relationship registers as an adequate response to either the commitment or the needs of same-sex couples. They are proposing a slightly watered down version of their previous efforts of enacting civil unions. From ABC News (not the US one)

The ACT’s Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, plans to re-introduce a Civil Partnerships Bill, which would grant legal recognition to same-sex unions. He will push the case at a meeting with the new federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, on Friday.

“I think that’s an important courtesy to extend to the Federal Government, given there has been a change of government, and the opportunity now to progress an important piece of law reform for people in the ACT,” he said.

Anti-gay factions have already voiced threats over the action. It will be interesting to see if quashing gay recognition is a priority of the new government.

UPDATE

The Age is reporting that the federal government will not override the ACT’s decision to provide civil unions.

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