The ACT Government will accept same-sex couple registrations from Monday after moving quickly to introduce its civil partnership regist-er with administrative ceremonies.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said he expected the first ceremonies to be conducted next Saturday.

This is a historic moment on the inevitable path towards removing discrimination and ensuring equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, Corbell said.

Gay and lesbian couples in the ACT will now be able affirm their relationship before friends and families and gain legal recognition of their partnership.

However, couples do not have to hold a ceremony. The ACT Registrar-General’s Office has advised of several options for couples including a no-booking registration without personal witnesses or ceremony.

Couples can also request a Deputy Registrar-General conduct a ceremony, which requires a pre-ceremony interview, or instead endorse a ceremony conducted by a separate celebrant.

There will be a fee based on whether the partnership is simply being registered, endorsed or celebrated, to be determined before Monday.

Like registers in Tasmania and Victoria, at least one partner must be a resident of the jurisdiction to join.

Legal legitimacy allows same-sex couples greater access to the same Commonwealth superannuation, taxation and social security law reforms that heterosexual couples take for granted, Corbell said.

Corbell added that the ACT planned to extend the register to other interdependent relationships such as carers.

The ACT Liberal Opposition opposed the register. Forms and further cost details will be available from www.rgo.act.gov.au.

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