South Australian parliament is set to pass a long-awaited reform recognising same-sex couples, with the introduction this week of a Domestic Partners Bill including gay and lesbian relationships.After years of pressure from activists, the state’s Labor government introduced the bill on Tuesday, promising to make the planned legislation a priority.Last year the South Australian upper house passed a similar bill, but parliament was dissolved before it gained final approval.The new legislation would extend financial, inheritance and other rights to couples, including same-sex partners, who had lived together for at least three years.The law would also recognise people in interdependent relationships, such as siblings. Couples would not need to register to be recognised -“ rights would accrue automatically after three years.Importantly, the new law would allow courts to waive the three-year cohabitation requirement in the interests of justice, so couples who had lived together for a shorter time could be recognised.If passed as expected by the end of the year, the law would make South Australia the last state to introduce laws recognising gay couples. But it would not permit same-sex civil unions or marriage.A spokesperson for South Australian attorney-general Michael Atkinson told Sydney Star Observer the government introduced the long-awaited reform to equalise all relationships outside of marriage -¦ including same-sex couples. The government included non-sexual relationships such as those between siblings in the bill to appease conservative MPs and increase the likelihood of the legislation being approved.The spokesperson said the government would clear all other planned legislation from the first day of debate for the Domestic Partners Bill. The date of the debate has not been set.The gay and lesbian community here in South Australia has had a bit of a rough ride on this, the spokesperson said.South Australian gay activists welcomed the long-delayed bill, even though it does not address issues such as adoption for same-sex couples.The important thing is that same-sex couples are treated the same as opposite-sex couples, Matthew Loader, from Adelaide-based gay lobby group Let’s Get Equal, told the Star.It’s not a civil unions scheme -¦ but it is a partial step towards that process, Loader said.

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