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The NSW Government last night passed the NSW Relationship Register legislation, 62 votes to nine.
The legislation means same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples will be registered with and recognised by NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Debate started just after 9pm last night.
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally was not in the chamber for the vote. Another 20 members were also absent from the chamber when the legislation was put to the vote.
Openly gay NSW MLC Penny Sharpe said the passage of the legislation was another step forward for gay couples in NSW.
“The Relationship Register is another welcome reform for same sex couples in NSW,” she said.
“It is disappointing that for such a basic piece of legislation Barry O’Farrell has had to pander to the religious right in the Liberal Party and allow a conscience vote.”
When asked about Premier Keneally’s absence from the chamber, Sharpe said: “No bill becomes a government bill without the Premier’s support. What is more concerning is that nine Coalition members voted against and another 20 went missing during the vote.”
The legislation will now head to the NSW Upper House for debate where it is expected to pass with the support of the NSW Labor Party and the Greens.
The NSW Liberal Party has granted its members a conscience vote on the issue.
MORE TO COME
Read the background of the legisaltion