The NSW Government has announced it will introduce relationship registers, making it easier for same-sex couples to access legal entitlements.

NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos today made the surprise announcement that NSW would fall in line with other states — Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania — and introduce legislation to recognise de-facto couples.

“The register, endorsed by State Cabinet, will ensure NSW is aligned with Commonwealth Government moves to remove discrimination against unmarried people in heterosexual and same-sex relationship,” he said.

“Under current laws, it can be very difficult for couples who are in de-facto or committed relationships to prove their relationship for the purpose of accessing government services, entitlements or records.

“Couples who choose to register their relationship will be provided with one document that helps prove their relationship and will be spared the frustration of constantly having to supply agencies with copious amounts of paperwork.”

Gay and lesbian rights advocates across the country welcomed the reforms, but agreed that it was no substitute for marriage.

“State civil partnership schemes are ideal for couples seeking legal recognition who have no desire to marry, but they are not a substitute for same-sex marriage,” Australian Marriage Equality spokesman, Peter Furness said.

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