Current Affairs

Australian prime minister tipped to veto civil unions

Jessica Geen November 24, 2009
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Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd will overturn legislation allowing legally-binding civil partnership ceremonies in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), it has been reported.

According to The Australian, chief minister Jon Stanhope said attorney-general Robert McClelland had suggested during a recent meeting that the Rudd government overturn the legislation.

The ACT legalised civil partnerships ceremonies for gay couples earlier this month, making it the first territory in the country to do so.

The bill, sponsored by the ACT Greens party, was approved by legislators after an amendment was inserted banning straight couples from having a civil partnership.

This means the ceremonies will not “mimic” marriage.

Gay couples living in the ACT have been allowed to register their partnerships since 2008 but until now, have not been allowed to hold a ceremony.

If Rudd quashes the measure, this will be the fourth time his government has halted progressive measures on civil unions put forward by the ACT Legislative Assembly.

McClelland’s spokesman would not confirm details of the meeting but said: “The government’s position is that the most appropriate way to achieve this is through the development of a nationally consistent framework for relationship recognition.”

This weekend, Rudd was challenged by his party to pass legislation allowing gay marriage.

Victoria’s Australian Labor Party passed a resolution in support of marriage equality.

It is supported by ministers and calls for the law to be changed to allow “equal access to marriage, regardless of the gender of either partner”.

Related topics: Australia

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