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Opposition ACT group present gay marriage bill

Marc Shoffman May 3, 2006

The opposition Party in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has put forward a bill to register partnerships for all sexualities.

The proposal, from shadow attorney-general, Bill Stefaniak, comes after the ACT government backtracked on its Civil Unions Bill in reaction to Federal government disapproval.

Mr Stefaniak has promised the bill is consistent with Federal law, he said: “A caring relationship is a relationship other than marriage between two adults, whether or not people are related by family, one or each of them provide domestic support and personal care.

“The section goes on to define people who aren’t in a paid relationship or who receive some recompense for it.”

ACT leader Jon Stanhope is expected to announce a series of changes to the planned legislation, including a separate civil celebrant register instead of using commonwealth law, and a paragraph stating that it’s not a marriage.

A spokesman for Mr Stanhope told the Sydney Star Observer, “We won’t be attempting to use the commonwealth’s [register] any more because obviously that’s not going to fly.

“They’ve made it quite clear that they don’t want the ACT to use their celebrants.

“There’s probably going to be some sort of playing with the language at some level to try and meet some of the concerns of the commonwealth.”

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