Last night historic legislation was passed in Victoria that will allow gay and de facto couples to register their relationships with Births Deaths and Marriages.
According to The Age, Liberal leader Ted Baillieu was in favour of the bill, while Nationals leader Peter Ryan and a number of Liberal frontbenchers were opposed. All Labor MPs who were present voted in favour. 24 MPs voted against the bill, 54 voted for it.
Peter Ryan believes it will take away from the institution of marriage. “It is the cornerstone of enabling a stable family environment for children,” he said. “What this bill does is to establish a structure which is a step towards equalising the notion of a same-sex relationship in particular with marriage.”
While Ted Baillieu also believes in the importance of marriage, he had to disagree when it came to the notion that entitlements for gay people mean an automatic erosion of the institution. “I do not share the argument in regard to this bill that marriage will be undermined. If I did, I would not support it. I respect the concern. I just do not share it. For me, this bill is about respect.”
He went on to say that while the Parliament has to legislate in favour of marriage and traditional notions of family, that shouldn’t necessarily mean that it can’t also take into account other types of relationships.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome is proud that the relationships register is following the model that was developed in his state.
“If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Tasmanians should feel very flattered indeed”, he said. “Registries are not a threat to marriage but a complement to it – as shown by the fact that marriage is still alive and well in Tasmania.”
He went on to clarify that the relationships register model is legally recognised internationally as a civil union scheme and that in Tasmania, if the official presiding over the union has both marriage celebrant and state JP powers, then those ceremonies have the same symbolic weight and lead to the same legal rights as civil unions elsewhere.