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Australia’s Capital to Vote For Civil Unions… Again

Timothy Kincaid

September 21st, 2009

australia_regionsLike the United States, Australia’s federal legislators meet to decide laws within a community far more pro-gay than they are. Twice before the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has voted for local legally-binding ceremonies of civil unions and twice before the federal government has reversed their decision.

So, yet again, they are passing legislation. (Sydney Morning Herald)

The ACT Legislative Assembly is set to pass laws which will allow for legally-binding “civil union” ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The ACT Greens have draft laws on the table which would allow the ceremonies to take place.

On Monday, ACT Labor – which leads the minority government – voted unanimously to support the bill in a caucus meeting. That means the bill will pass the Assembly easily.

Although ACT Labor is supportive of recognition of same-sex couples on par with heterosexuals, the national party is committed to minimal recognition, supporting only specific rights shared by unmarried de facto partners and perhaps a registry – which does not allow for ceremony or provide equality – but are dragging their feet on even that.

It is unlikely that the ACT will be allowed to treat its gay citizens with dignity. But such efforts on the part of the local government serve well to illustrate hypocrisies and lack of commitment and continue pressure on those within Labor who like to envision themselves as champions of the disenfranchised.

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