ACT senator Kate Lundy has moved to reassure the gay and lesbian community that she will do everything she can to convince her federal Government colleagues not to overturn the territory’s upcoming civil unions changes.
“I don’t believe civil unions with ceremonies contravene the Marriage Act,” she told Sydney Star Observer.
“I don’t know if the majority caucus position has changed, but I’m really pleased by the support I saw [among ALP members] at the national conference.”
Lundy came under quick criticism from her GLBT followers on Twitter for ruling out voting against her party, as Liberal ACT senator Gary Humphries did in 2006 over an earlier version of the bill and vowed to do so again.
“As a leftie, I’m in an awkward position. The difference is Gary Humphries has more freedom to do that — his party doesn’t have a binding caucus,” Lundy said.
“The Labor Party has a binding caucus and over the years I’ve had to vote for things I didn’t agree with. But I’ll do my best to convince my colleagues.”
Humphries did not offer his support for the civil unions issue, but has instead focused on the ACT Legislative Assembly’s right to pass its own laws without federal interference.
Once the Greens’ civil unions with ceremonies amendment passes with the ACT Stanhope Government’s support, the Rudd Government will have six months to act or the new ceremonies will remain law.
Lundy said she expected the issue will be addressed quickly and will move to educate her colleagues on how the party membership has shifted on the issue.
ALP members voted unanimously to remove the words “must not mimic marriage” from the party’s same-sex relationship recognition policy at this year’s national conference.
Both the Howard and Rudd Governments maintained that official ceremonies made civil unions too much like marriage and therefore contravened the Marriage Act.

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