Civil unions could be a reality in the ACT some time next year, a step that lobbyists claim will increase pressure on NSW to follow.
A promise by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to leave state and territory governments alone means the ACT Government will now consider controversial elements to its civil unions like ceremonies and availability to interstate residents.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland discouraged both when he met his ACT counterpart Simon Corbell on Friday, as differences would encourage “unseemly” entitlements tourism.
Couples will still be issued a certificate by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as proof of the relationship.
Activist Rodney Croome said the number of formalised Australian same-sex relationships would dramatically increase when the Victoria and ACT schemes become available.
“When the first images of Canberra relationship ceremonies appear on TV, it will instantly put pressure on states like NSW and Queensland to move on the issue as well,” Croome said.
The City of Sydney also has a relationship register but it is not recognised by the rest of NSW. Lord Mayor Clover Moore recently sent a certificate of congratulations to the people of New Zealand for reaching the significant landmark of 1,000 civil unions.
Tasmania recently celebrated its 100th registered relationship.

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