Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government has formally rejected a call for civil unions for same-sex couples.
The Government’s response equated the proposal with same-sex marriage equality, saying the no gay unions policy “reflects the widely held view in the community that marriage is between a man and a woman”. But the Government confirmed it still intends to recognise and support same-sex families through its community and social inclusion strategies, and convince NSW, QLD, SA, WA and NT to implement relationship registers.
A representative from Australian Marriage Equality called Rudd behind the times, saying, “Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, making a nonsense of the Government’s stated belief that its policy ‘reflects a widely held view in the community’.”
Since 2004 Australia has defined marriage as the “union of a man and a woman.” Domestic partners registries are available to same-sex couples in the states of Victoria and Tasmania, and in the Australian Capital Territory. As noted in the excerpted text above, the federal government is pressuring other states to do so as well. Late last year same-sex couples nationwide were granted most of the federal rights afforded married opposite-sex couples.