Tag Archives: civil unions

Same-Sex Civil Unions Return To Queensland, As Politicians Finally Show There Support

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

Greece’s Government Delay Legislation Allowing Civil Unions for Same-sex Couples

Gay rights protesters gathered outside Greece’s parliament late Friday after the government said it would delay legislation allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. The decision came despite a European court ruling that found Greece has been discriminating against gays.

About 500 people joined the peaceful protest in central Athens as lawmakers prepared to vote on an anti-racism bill.

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said civil partnerships had been left out of the legislation because further study was needed on how the partnerships would affect the tax and social insurance system, as well as family law.

“I think it is an issue that requires us to respect the detail and the sensitivity involved … and should not be added on to the legislation we are currently discussing.” 

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou

Lawmakers on Friday approved the bill to facilitate the prosecution of people who incite violence on the basis of race or sexual orientation, but a detailed debate on separate articles in the draft legislation will continue next week.

Last November, the Council of Europe’s Court of Human Rights ruled that Greek legislation was discriminatory, and ordered the country to pay damages to four gay couples who took the case to the court in Strasbourg, France.

But the issue is politically sensitive in Greece, where several prominent members of the Greek Orthodox Church as well as members of the ruling conservative party oppose gay partnerships, arguing they would undermine the institution of family.

Another 162 gay couples from Greece – some present at Friday’s rally – filed a similar complaint in the international court earlier this year to pressure the government to change the law.

Tom Koukoulis, one of the plaintiffs who attended the demonstration with his partner of two years, Aristidis Paraskakis, said:

“I think the changes will happen step by step, as they did in other countries like (Britain), where first there was civil partnerships, then marriage equality, and then changes to adoption. It’s about the right to … visit a relative in hospital, to file a joint tax declaration, and all the rest… We do think it is going to happen because we are on the right side of history.”

Tom Koukoulis

The Pope suggests Catholic Church could support same-sex civil unions

While reaffirming the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, Pope Francis said in a newspaper interview Wednesday that the church could support some form of civil unions. In an interview published in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily, the pontiff suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of same-sex civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. The pope said that “matrimony is between a man and a woman,” but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.”

“Matrimony is between a man and a woman,”

Pope Francis

The new Pope, who marks his first year as Pope on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for the Catholic Church on issues related to homosexuality and abortion. Francis had led the Catholic Church’s public stance against legalising same-sex marriage in Argentina while he was Archbishop. At the time, Francis called the proposed legislation “a destructive attack on God’s plan.” However, he was part of a number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples in Argentina.

In an interview with CNN last year, Marcelo Marquez, a leading Argentinian LGBT rights activist, said that during that nation’s 2010 debate over same-sex marriage, he received a phone call from the Pope Francis then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  According to Marquez, then-Cardinal Bergoglio told him “… ‘I’m in favour of gay rights and in any case, I also favour civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law.’ “