The first anniversary of the ACT’s civil partnership scheme has reignited calls for it to be amended with official ceremonies.

Greens MP Shane Rattenbury said the party would introduce an amendment to include an official ceremony, which had also been the Stanhope Labor Government’s ongoing intention.

However, the amendments will not pass after ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell indicated the Government would not vote for a law that the Commonwealth had promised to overturn. The first legislation to contain ceremonies was disallowed by the Howard Government, and talks between the Commonwealth and the Territory indicated the Rudd Government would do the same.

If the Federal Labor Party is ruled by social conservatives who have no respect for the rights of ACT voters to enact their own laws, then let’s get that out in the open. This is a chance to find out whether we have Howard-lite in the Lodge or not, Rattenbury said.

The risk of the whole partnership scheme being disallowed was no longer an issue, Rattenbury said, because the Governor-General had only six months to do so.

Civil Union Action spokesman John Kloprogge said ACT Labor had a mandate from the last election and the Rudd Government should be challenged on the issue of same-sex ceremonies.

It is not the job of the Chief Minister to be chief enforcer of Kevin Rudd’s homophobia. Mr Stanhope must do what is right, and Mr Rudd must not step in the way, he said.

Corbell said only a state government could escape the Commonwealth’s opposition to official ceremonies.

I was very disappointed that a federal government refused to accept that position but we have to achieve what we can achieve and that’s what we’ve done, Corbell told the ABC.

I think, nevertheless, Canberrans who are in same-sex relationships have taken the opportunity to take it up, and that’s been very pleasing.

ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr indicated his intention to register his relationship with his same-sex partner Anthony.

I do intend to ask him to enter a civil partnership with me. I hope he says yes! Barr previously told SSO. I expect we’ll have a ceremony with an ACT Government representative and celebrant present to witness the signing of the papers and preside over the ceremony.

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