Greens Senator Kerry Nettle introduced a marriage equality bill to the new parliament on Valentine’s Day last week to recognise overseas same-sex marriages and allow local ones.

“This is about highlighting the inequality that’s there, and keeping the pressure on the Labor party,” Nettle said.

A Galaxy poll commissioned by GetUp last year found 53 percent of Australians supported marriage equality, but the amendment might not even get the opportunity to be debated before Nettle’s Senate term expires in July.

Her party leader Bob Brown sided with Liberal ACT Senator Gary Humphries in condemning the Rudd Government for its standover tactics against the Territory Government’s civil partnerships legislation.

“Unlike Chief Minister Jon Stanhope who campaigned, and was elected, on the issue of civil unions, the Rudd government has no mandate to interfere with them,” Brown said.

p>Labor ACT Senator Kate Lundy has also broken ranks with her federal colleagues, supporting the ACT Government’s plans.

…but Tony and Andrew don’t want to wait anymore

This 29 February, while everyone else worries about attaching the last few feathers and sequins to their parade outfits, local boys Tony Filipi and his partner Andrew Kennedy will be putting the finishing touches on their vows.

The Surry Hills couple, who have been seeing each other for the past three and a half years, will be holding their commitment ceremony in Pyrmont in front of a registered celebrant, before recording the event in the City of Sydney relationship register.

“Initially neither a union nor a ceremony was important to me. I was happy to make a decision, resolution or promise and take on board the responsibility of it, regardless of the bureaucracy,” Kennedy, 29, told SSO.

“But when I heard about the relationship register I knew a slapdash couple of moments followed by an informal party weren’t enough. This had to be an event with gravitas.”

Filipi, 39, said the couple felt the need to do more than just throw a ring on each other’s finger.

“We could easily have submitted the relationship recognition paper work, put our ring on and said that’s it. But in the end, that wasn’t enough. We wanted to share our day with family and friends just as they have had the opportunity to do,” he said.

“The Friday night before Mardi Gras seemed perfect. It happens to be right in between Andrew’s and my birthday and on the night before Mardi Gras people can find themselves at a loose end, so what better way to bring in the 30th Mardi Gras weekend and spend some time with our friends and family.”

Have your say: Should the government recognise these unions?

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