Twenty-one groups spoke at a public consultation on a state civil unions bill in the Queensland Parliament on Thursday.
Groups speaking against civil unions included the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, the Presbyterian Church, Family Voice Australia, the National Marriage Coalition, the Australian Family Association and the Family Council of Queensland.
Groups speaking in favour of the bill included PFLAG Australia, the Anglican Church’s Social Responsibilities Committee, Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC), Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Queensland Law Society, and Australian Marriage Equality (AME).
ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis claimed Queensland should not be considering civil unions because marriage was a federal issue, and said civil unions would undermine children’s “right” to begin life with their biological parents.
The Archdiocese of Brisbane’s Dr Adrian Farrelly claimed that marriage was not “open to redefinition,” before suggesting that civil unions could lead to the government registering relationships of people “in a threesome or a foursome.”
Family Voice Australia’s Geoffrey Bullock cited a 1934 book on sex and culture which he said showed societies that did not value heterosexual monogamy failed.
The National Marriage Coalition called civil unions a “commitment-free, promiscuous, commercial version of marriage”
AME national convenor Alex Greenwich told the consultation that passing civil unions before same-sex marriage was available could result in a tourism windfall for Queensland.
The Anglican Church’s Social Responsibilities Committee’s the Very Rev. Peter Catt supported the bill.
“The legitimacy of marriage is not denied or denigrated by this bill,” Catt said,
“It will extend the liberty of some without impinging on the liberty of others.”
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said that without institutional reform, “slavery would persist, aristocrats would run government and women would not have the vote”.
Queensland Law Society president Bruce Doyle said civil unions would be useful for both heterosexual and homosexual de facto couples in proving a relationship, while Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Kevin Cocks said the bill would be, “a significant step in dismantling some of the discrimination against gays and lesbians.”
The Star Observer understands that four Labor MPs have already indicated they will vote against the bill, while the Queensland Opposition will not allow a conscience vote.
However the Queensland Government has a thirteen seat majority.