UPDATE: An emergency protest rally has been called for tonight at Queensland Parliament House. See details on Facebook here.
Queensland’s new government hates the idea of same-sex unions so much, it’s spitefully rushing through legislation to ensure they can never even be called ‘civil unions’ anymore.
Acting under urgency, the state’s Liberal lawmakers will vote today to remove official ceremonies from the Act and rename “civil unions” “registered relationships” – despite assurances last week that the government will not be repealing civil unions, but will simply amend the law to exclude state-sanctioned ceremonies which could “mimic marriage.”
So now rather than having a ‘civil union’, same-sex couples can only gain a ‘civil partnership’ under the newly-proposed ‘Registered Relationships Act’. The registrations will be entered into and dissolved through the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, rather than the District Court.
The Liberal sweep into power in Queensland had brought with it an assault in our communities, it seems. The state’s only LGBT health organisation was hastily de-funded, and the civil union legislation brought in by previous Premier Anna Bligh is now in tatters.
“There is a brutality with the way Campbell Newman and the LNP is treating our communities,” says Brisbane-based marriage equality advocate Paul Martin.
“Changing the name from Civil Union to Relationship Registration is demeaning and sends out very powerful messages that our relationships are invalid and not valuable. This has a very real potential to cause psychological harm and worse,” he adds.
“Our communities must not be treated with contempt no matter how strongly the LNP are influenced by Conservative Christian political players.”
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich agrees. “Polls show most Australian Christians support equality for same-sex couples, so, in reality, Mr Newman is responding to a powerful, vocal minority of Christians determined to impose their strident views on everyone else including other people of faith.”