Lord mayor Clover Moore has urged Sydney’s same-sex couples to declare their relationship status by signing on to the City of Sydney’s relationship register.
While the register doesn’t confer any legal status the way civil unions or marriage would, it does give couples the chance to declare their relationship in writing and could be useful in proving de facto or interdependent status before a court or government official.
So far 22 couples have registered their partnerships with the system, which is also available to heterosexual couples.
The federal government continues to deny gay men and lesbians the opportunity to make a life commitment protected by law, Moore said.
The register is well supported by many lesbian and gay couples -“ and also mixed-sex couples -“ who are in loving long-term relationships and want to declare their commitment to each other.
One of the most recent couples to join the register is Tracie Reinten and Rebecca Reynolds from Camperdown, who held a private ceremony in February.
We decided to go on the register as it provided an ideal opportunity to reaffirm our relationship and commitment to each other and to make that commitment in front of our family and friends, Reinten said.
We are also planning to travel overseas soon to work and thought having an official certificate of our relationship status may assist with visa arrangements -“ particularly where same-sex relationships are recognised in other countries of the world.
Generally, the kind of formal commitment [the register] intends is respected by most people, even if not by the laws of Australia.
Ken Adkins and John Kacprzak decided to register their relationship to mark their 10-year anniversary.
He basically proposed to me and I said ‘let’s do it’, but I wanted to do it after a milestone and we think 10 years is adequate, Adkins said.
They also thought it would be a positive step for the community, as far as bolstering numbers on the register.
I think it’s a good step in keeping in line with the times, Adkins said.
And for acknowledgement from our friends, family and peers that we are in a continuing and ongoing relationship regardless of whether or not we can do it legally.
Another reason to do it was that he and Kacprzak own properties together, and the registration certificate might come in handy to prove their interdependency.
The couple are holding their commitment ceremony on Saturday 1 April in front of family and friends from all around the world, including Adkins’s clan from California.
He hopes that, if Australia one day follows suit with other Commonwealth nations, such as Britain, Canada and New Zealand, and introduces civil unions or marriage, their registered relationship will automatically be recognised as such.