Melbourne is already creeping up to its northern counterpart in the relationship registration stakes, with a significant number of Victorian couples registering their relationships.
Since the introduction of the Relationships Act in December last year more than 100 registration applications have been received – of those, 94 have been registered.
-œWe are very pleased with the number of applications received to date, and expect this number to grow as more couples become aware of the registration process, Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages registrar Helen Trihas said.
Early numbers indicate male same-sex couples are most likely to register their relationship, making up more than 50 percent of registrations.
The City of Sydney’s Relationship Declaration Program, which includes same-sex couples, is the most popular register in the country with 135 same-sex and opposite-sex couples on its books, although unlike Victoria, the register is not recognised by state law.
In Tasmania 120 couples are on the state’s register which, like Sydney, started in 2004.
As at February this year there had been 48 couples registered at the newly introduced Victorian scheme.
Couples must lodge an application to register their relationship 28 days prior to the date of registration.
The relationship register is only open to Victorian residents and provides conclusive proof of a domestic relationship under Victorian law.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Hayley Conway said the numbers showed the community had been waiting for formal relationship recognition.
-œIt is great that this is accessible and is certainly a good step towards full recognition of people’s relationships in line with what heterosexual couples have access to, she said.
-œI think there are people that have always wanted and will always want to get married, and nothing short of that will satisfy them.
-œCertainly there are same-sex couples, as well as opposite sex couples, who want alternatives to marriage.
Conway called on the Rudd Government to reconsider a national approach to relationship recognition via civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples.
-œWhat is needed is a federal system of relationship recognition, and whether that’s in the form of marriage or civil unions is generally a case for policy makers, she said.
-œThe reality is as long as the ban on same-sex marriage exists -” so as long as the definition of marriage being between a man and a women stands -” discrimination will continue.
-œIf this government is serious about removing human rights violations within Australia it is going to have to change that definition of marriage.

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