MPs have shown an overwhelming support (64 to 22) to reinstate civil unions in Queensland, which means same-sex relationships will soon be recognised in the eyes of the law.
This will hopefully lay the foundations for marriage equality across the Australian state.
Now, any unmarried couples in Queensland may now enter into a civil union, with the law applying to LGBT and heterosexual partners alike.
3 years ago Queensland removed gay couples’ ability to have children through surrogacy and downgraded civil partnerships to the class of ‘registered relationships’, following a debate in Parliament.
The state first legalised civil unions in 2008 under the Labor government but they were scrapped by Liberal National Premier Campbell Newman.
Talking before the vote, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said;
It’s time to inject some maturity and some dignity into the marriage debate. It’s time to again allow heterosexual couples who might want to affirm their relationship but not take the step of actually getting married the right to do so.”
LGBT acitivists have welcomed the move – but say it is only the first step to same-sex marriage in Australia.
Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality, added
I welcome the Queensland government’s Civil Partnership law because it will provide same-sex couples with greater legal certainty. But civil partnerships are not a substitute for equality in marriage for same-sex couples.
Marriage is a universally recognized institution that guarantees equal respect and equal rights in a way civil partnerships cannot.”
Same-sex marriage is banned Australia, and PM Malcolm Turnbull stalling to vote on subject until 2017 – meaning marriages might take even longer to begin.
However, the Australian Senate recently passed a motion calling on the PM to scrap plans for a distant ‘public vote’ on same-sex marriage and to act on the issue now.
Fingers crossed this is step in the right direction