Australia’s Federal government has been labelled as homophobic after officially overturning a law in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which had created civil unions for same sex couples, killing any hopes for gay couples looking to register their partnerships before the legislation was annulled.

The ACT’s local assembly approved the bill last month giving same sex couple’s the right to a civil union after watering down the law to ensure it did not represent marriage.

But 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.

He said: “The ACT civil relationships ordinance has been disallowed.

“That means, in effect, that the legislative amendments introduced to establish a civil arrangement for same-sex parties and others in the ACT will no longer be law.”

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

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell, who had attempted to rush through law, told the Australian Daily Telegraph, “This is a homophobic decision, it is arrogant and undemocratic.”

The law will be invalid from midnight tonight in Australia.