Gay marriage advocates have applauded the ACT Government for supporting a bill allowing ceremonial aspects to be included in the territory’s civil union scheme.
Equal Love Canberra spokesman John Kloprogge said the Rudd Government now has little basis for vetoing the legislation since recent changes to ALP policy removed a passage saying state or territory relationship registers should not “mimic marriage”.
“Since the ALP National Conference voted to soften the party’s position on this matter, the Rudd Government has no basis for treading on these laws,” Kloprogge said.
“The ACT Government has the right to make whatever laws it wishes to, without being bullied by the federal Government. While the Rudd Government is still fulminating over this matter, the rest of the country has moved on.”
The move is set to become a headache for the Rudd Government, with the ACT’s Labor Government saying it will support the Greens in its bid to introduce ceremonial aspects for same-sex couples.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Attorney-General Robert McClelland have so far been unwavering in their position that marriage remain between a man and a woman.
The Canberra Times reported ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell confirmed the Government would support the bill after a caucus meeting yesterday. The ACT’s Legislative Assembly now looks set to pass the laws.
The ACT currently has a civil union scheme in place, however, legal ceremonies are excluded.
If the Rudd Government blocks the legislation, it will be the third time a federal Government has stepped in to prevent the ACT making the change.
Federal Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has also spoken out ahead of the bill’s passage, warning the Government to keep away.
“To deny the will of the people three times would demonstrate utter disrespect for the people of the ACT, and in this case, the will of his [Rudd’s] own party,” she said.
“The passing of a motion supporting equal marriage by the Tasmanian ALP State Conference in July showed rebellion is spreading against Mr Rudd’s out-of-touch stance.”

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