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Victoria's Next To Get Hitched

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.

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oliveoil

oliveoil said on the 13th Mar, 2008

"GAY and de facto couples will be able to formally register their relationships in Victoria after the Legislative Assembly last night passed historic legislation that split the Coalition.

Liberal leader Ted Baillieu supported the Government bill, which will allow couples to record their relationships with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriage.

But his new Coalition partner, Nationals leader Peter Ryan, opposed it, as did several Liberal frontbenchers including treasury spokesman Kim Wells, transport spokesman Terry Mulder, shadow attorney-general Robert Clark and former leader Denis Napthine.

All Labor MPs in the chamber for the 10pm vote supported the bill, which the Government says does not create gay marriages or civil unions but will improve access to entitlements such as superannuation for gay couples.

Independent MP Craig Ingram was among the 24 MPs who voted against the bill. It was supported by 54 MPs, including Attorney-General Rob Hulls, who described passage of the legislation as "a great day for Victoria".

With Liberal and National party MPs having a free vote, Mr Ryan spoke against the register while Mr Baillieu spoke for it.

Mr Ryan said it would detract from the importance of marriage.

"Marriage is a singular issue of great significance in our society," he said. "It is the cornerstone of enabling a stable family environment for children."

Mr Ryan said he respected other opinions. However, he described himself as an unapologetic and strong advocate of the institution of marriage.

"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," he said.

But Mr Baillieu disagreed, saying he had a strong view about bringing people together, and an optimistic view of this legislation.

"I recognise, acknowledge and respect that there are many with a counter view, many who are concerned that this bill signals an erosion of traditional marriage," he told Parliament.

"I can understand this concern to protect and nurture marriage as an institution. I share the view that marriage is an essential component of our society, our culture and our future.

"But 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."

Mr Baillieu said he did not support the concept of gay marriage, but he was in favour of measures to help people manage their relationships, when they are together and when they are separating.

"The Parliament should always preserve to itself the opportunity to legislate in particular areas in favour of marriage and the role and responsibility of raising and nurturing children," he said.

"But that should not diminish our capacity to assist others and other relationships."

The bill will be passed in the upper house, with Labor, the Greens and several Liberals certain to support it.

Mr Ryan said the beauty of a free vote which Labor did not allow its MPs was that people could express their personal views and vote accordingly".

Anthony Mahera

Anthony Mahera said on the 13th Mar, 2008

I don't get the following comment;

"Marriage is a singular issue of great significance in our society," he said. "It is the cornerstone of enabling a stable family environment for children." (Peter Ryan)

What if your a gay couple with children???? Is gay parent couples a non stable environment? I think that comments is inappropriate and completly wrong.

I also think Peter Ryans statements are hypocritical as straight marriages are doing incredibly poorly when it comes to servival rates.

It seems to me that all the people whom voted againts the bill are bible bashers or conservatives with homophobic views and opinions. I feel sorry for them.

alison87

alison87 said on the 13th Mar, 2008

A relationship register isn't equivalent to marriage, it's just another level of bureaucracy the politicians lay on us to avoid tackling the issue of full equality in all aspects of the law.

Ruffnut

Ruffnut said on the 13th Mar, 2008

Now for NSW and the rest of Australia to legislate for the same.

oliveoil

oliveoil said on the 13th Mar, 2008

You stole my earlier topic!

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 13th Mar, 2008

Good on ya Ted for supporting it

AndiTorak

AndiTorak said on the 13th Mar, 2008

As much as it's progression, naming it 'registration' makes it sound as emotional as registering a pet. No ceremony. Kinda disappointing. But if the rights, are the same, THANK YOU VICTORIA!!!

jackie87

jackie87 said on the 13th Mar, 2008

It can only get better, Thank you Victoria.

I wish things could be better this side of the Murray but the politicians are in the lap of Fred Nile, Phillip Jensen and George Pell I'm afraid.

GenesisInVain

GenesisInVain said on the 13th Mar, 2008

Step by step. I hope that this sort of thing comes to fruition in NSW soon.

AnthonyB

AnthonyB said on the 16th Mar, 2008

As a relatively recently arrived Victorian (June 2007) who still thinks of myself as at least partly a Sydney boy, I'm tremendously proud to be a citizen of a State that has legislated for both a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and now the Relationships register. While the government here is hardly perfect, at least it's not afraid to defend human rights and civil liberties. My partner and I intend to avail ourselves of the register - if only to show our support for the legislation as well as each other. We'll hold some sort of ceremony and celebration too: we don't need the legislature to show us how to party!

ellie83

ellie83 said on the 17th Mar, 2008

I agree... Having a relationship register is an insult; my relationship is equally as valid as my straight sisters, forget the register, we what marriage!