The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages will be registering same-sex and heterosexual de facto couples before year’s end if the Government has its way.
“It is anticipated that the register will be set up later in the year after this consultative process is finalised,” a spokeswoman for NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos told Sydney Star Observer.
The Government is still drafting the legislation and will consult with community groups and stakeholders in the process.
The announcement of a registry has split opponents of gay and lesbian rights. The Australian Christian Lobby is not against a registry, while the Saltshakers, Family First and the Christian Democrats oppose it.
The ACL’s Jim Wallace told Sydney Star Observer he would not oppose the scheme but wanted carers included.
“The Australian Christian Lobby has been strongly opposed to same-sex civil unions or partnerships which mimic marriage and we are pleased to see that the NSW Government has indicated that these kinds of arrangements are not on the agenda,” Wallace said.
“We are not opposed to relationship registers which assist with the removal of unreasonable discrimination for same-sex couples, [however,] we would definitely prefer to see the NSW relationship register extended to people in caring or interdependency relationships.”
Peter Stokes of the Saltshakers criticised both Labor policy and the ACL.
“We are disappointed, but not surprised, to see the NSW Government head in this direction”, Stokes said.
“With both the Rudd Government and the ACL naively supporting relationship registers and encouraging state governments to do this in an attempt to ‘save marriage’, this move was inevitable.
“We will be campaigning against the register regardless of what it contains.”
Dr Gordon Moyes of Family First NSW claimed the move was a “back door” to same-sex marriage.
“There is already adequate protection for [couples] under all the laws protecting de facto relationships, whether same-sex or different partnerships,” Moyes said.
“Having the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages administer the relationship register is just an attempt to have a back door marriage … It is not about justice for a couple of adults. Marriage is the only guarantee for justice for children.”
It is understood the Christian Democrats will also oppose the registry scheme.
The NSW Liberals will wait to see the bill before forming an opinion, while the Nationals did not return phone calls in relation to the bill.
The Greens urged NSW Labor to support full marriage equality, but will support the registry to provide recognition for same-sex couples in the meantime.

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