Queensland acting premier Andrew Fraser has announced his plans to introduce same-sex civil unions for the state.
Fraser said he was likely to introduce the reform before Christmas via a private member’s bill and called on parliament to support the proposal.
Although Fraser admitted he and Premier Anna Bligh support full marriage equality, he said civil partnerships were as far as state government could go to acknowledge the relationship rights of gay and lesbian couples.
“While civil partnerships do not equate to marriage or displace the case for equality, legislation for such relationships represents the most a state parliament can constitutionally achieve,” Fraser said in a statement.
“It is my personal belief that we should act to provide a legislated affirmation of the legitimacy of these human relationships.
“The ability to validate and celebrate such relationships is important in civil society and worthy of support across the parliament.”
The ALP in Queensland backed same-sex marriage at its state conference in June and called on federal Labor to do the same.
Last year Premier Bligh came out in support for same-sex marriage, while polling has found 66 percent of Queenslanders support marriage equality, as do 74 percent of ALP voters.
Fraser told the ABC TV’s 7.30 Queensland that the private member’s bill would be a conscience vote.
Queensland Opposition leader Campbell Newman has previously said he supports same-sex marriage but wouldn’t push reforms to allow gay couples to wed.