Gay couples in Australia are rushing to get their partnerships recognised by the Australian Capital Territory, after the Federal government warned it would overrule the Civil Unions Act.

The ACT’s local assembly approved the bill last month giving same sex couple’s the right to a civil union.

But last week the Federal Government promised to overturn the law, despite an initial willingness to consider it, Attorney General Philip Ruddock stated that it would be against the Federal Marriage Act as it is too similar to marriage and fails to take heed of the government’s concerns.

ACT Attorney General, Simon Corbell told the Sydney Morning Herald the law would be rushed through over the next two weeks, “This may be in defiance of the Federal Government’s announcement, but we believe our law is valid.”

Prime Minister John Howard said: “We are not prepared to accept something which is a plain attempt to equate civil unions with marriage.”

Nick Henderson, 26, and Paul Nicholson, 26, one couple planning to take immediate advantage of the law, told the paper, this is about recognising our love and commitment together.

Mr Henderson said: “How could we not be cynical when the ACT amended the legislation to take account of federal objections, and the Commonwealth ignored those amendments?”