ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has put pressure on PM Kevin Rudd to allow civil unions between same-sex couples in the ACT. Stanhope criticised Rudd, arguing that the Prime Minister should be able to defend the rights of his own citizens if he could demand the Chinese to respect Tibetans’ human rights.
“I have hopes that a Prime Minister and a Government capable of advocating for the basic rights of the Tibetans will – must – comprehend the justice of formally extending each of those same basic rights to folk back home,” said Stanhope.
The Rudd Government is currently discussing the removal of specific clauses in ACT’s civil partnerships bill that would allow gay couples to hold public ceremonies for their unions. Rudd announced a charter of rights, but Stanhope suggested that a national bill of rights would protect Australians from interventions from the Parliament.
The recognition and respect for the long-term “enduring primary relationships” of same-sex couples in ACT have been disenchanted with churches’ disapproval even though Australia is “committed… to a separation of church and state.” Reforms would allow gay couples the same recognition rights as heterosexual couples in the territory.
In NSW, Attorney-General John Hatzistergos wants to wait and see how the relationship register works out on a national level first. He announced yesterday that children born through IVF to lesbian mothers would soon have the same rights as those of heterosexual couples. Legislative changes will grant parenting rights and obligations to the non-biological mother too.