Victoria’s Relationships Bill, designed to establish a state-based relationships register, was passed through that state’s Legislative Council on Wednesday night.

The bill, introduced by the Labor Party and passed in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly on March 13, will allow same-sex couples to formally register their relationship from December 1.

Greens spokesperson Sue Pennicuik said she considered the issue of ceremonies to be the biggest hurdle for change.

In the case of the ceremony I understand there’s some controversy in people’s minds about that -“ in my mind I think it is fairly uncontroversial but that’s a point of view whereas the recognition of other schemes just seems to be a mechanistic administrative thing and I can’t understand why that’s a problem, she said.

John Klopproge from Civil Union Action said a ceremony was an important symbolic component of a registry system.

The lack of ceremonies would only reinforce the invisibility of same-sex relationships and not to publicly celebrate the love and commitment of those relationships, he said.

Lupton defended the specific exclusion of ceremonies in the bill, saying it was inappropriate.

The relationship is recognised by an act of people registering it, that’s what gives it the force of law. People are entitled to have a ceremony to celebrate that if they wish. An optional ceremony doesn’t need to be in legislation, he said.


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