A Bill legalising registered same-sex partnerships in the state of Queensland passed late last night in the state parliament.
While Opposition LNP MPs voted against the bill together as a bloc, Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote – with only four government MPs voting ‘no’. After three and a half hours of debate, the final voting numbers were 47 yes and 40 no.
Prominent marriage equality campaigner Shelley Argent was there in Parliament during the debate, and whooped with delight as the votes were read out. “I just feel so overwhelmed with joy that we are one step closer to equality,” she reacts.
“Tonight in parliament they ran out of visitor passes, there were so many people wanting to get into the gallery to listen to the debate,” she said late last night.
“Of course we heard the ‘what about the children?’ theory, the ‘man and woman’ theory and some just stated that this legislation made no difference to anyone, because the economic discrimination was removed and you had the de facto rights – they just forgot how you must somehow prove you are a couple. And of course we got the lecture on polygamy and polyamory.
“Ho hum! But who cares, WE WON!”
A rally took place outside Queensland’s Parliament in Brisbane yesterday in advance of the vote – here’s Same Same’s photos from the loud and colourful event:
November 30th, 2011
Following last night’s ruling, same-sex couples will soon be able to register their relationships at the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, gaining legal rights until now reserved for married couples.
“In Queensland you have the right to be a parent – surrogacy or parental recognition – and now your relationship can be registered which will halt the problem of next of kin, or the worry of how to prove the relationship,” Argent adds.
The state now joins Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NSW, which have similar schemes.
Queensland’s civil partnerships victory might well show that Australia is ready for a move to full marriage equality, and Argent hopes to see lots of people rally in Sydney this weekend as the Labor Party decides its stance on the issue.
“I believe that tonight has sent a clear message to Miss Julia that Australia is ready for true equality. Let’s hope on Saturday we, as a country, take the final hurdle and Labor Delegates vote for marriage equality.
“How many people will you be able to bring this Saturday? Ask all your friends, relatives, neighbours, workmates. If there is one demonstration that you do in your life it’s this one.”