Marriage equality advocates have hailed the passage of a civil union bill through the Queensland Parliament, saying it shows the nation is ready for same-sex marriages.
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich (pictured) said the new law allows for the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages in Queensland even though they are not recognised by the federal Government.
“When we have the traditionally-conservative Queensland Parliament accepting the legal recognition of same-sex relationships through official ceremonies it’s a safe bet Australia is ready for same-sex marriages,” Greenwich said.
“Submissions to the civil partnerships inquiry overwhelmingly supported marriage equality, as do all polls on this issue taken in Queensland, and it was clear from the debate that most Queensland MPs are as comfortable with marriage equality as they are with civil unions.
“The achievement of civil unions in Queensland sends a clear message to the ALP National Conference that it’s time to provide equality for all Australians regardless of their sexual orientation or the state in which they live.”
Greenwich said that provisions in the new Civil Partnership Act, which allow for recognition of interstate and overseas relationships, mean Queensland now joins Tasmania in recognising overseas same-sex marriages as civil partnerships.
“It is absurd that we have two states that recognise overseas same-sex marriages, giving these unions full marital rights in state and federal law, yet the federal Government refuses to recognise overseas same-sex marriages and actually tries to block them by refusing to issue the documentation partners need to enter them.”
“It is also absurd that interstate civil unions are recognised in Queensland, NSW, Tasmania and the ACT, but not in Victoria, while there are no civil unions at all in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
“The simplest way to resolve these confusing anomalies and inconsistencies is to allow same-sex couples to marry under federal law.”
Queensland Association Healthy Communities (QAHC) welcomed the passage of the Act and thanked all those in the Parliament who voted for it and those in the community who supported it.
“The passing of this Act brings lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Queenslanders a large step closer to full equality” QAHC executive director Paul Martin said.
“The widespread support for the Act shows that Queenslanders support their LGBT family members, friends and work colleagues and want equality.”
Martin added that while the LNP couldn’t bring itself to support civil unions, he hoped that they can support initiatives to reduce suicide and mental health problems among LGBT people and tackle the wider health and wellbeing problems that affect our communities.
“While we respectfully disagree with those who spoke against the bill, we thank them for their considered contribution to the debate,” he said