Queensland’s legislature has approved a civil unions bill on its first reading. If passed, Queensland will become the first Australian state to offer civil unions.
The civil unions bill goes further than the scheme currently operating in the ACT in that it will allow same-sex couples to have a declaration or ceremony to legally recognise their relationship. Celebrants will be able to apply in writing to the Registar-General to become a civil-partnership notary to perform such ceremonies. Other Qld Acts would be amended to include the term ‘civil partner’ where ‘spouse’ may now appear. A civil partnership would be terminated by one of the parties making an application to the District Court.
The Labor Party says it expects the bill to become law by the end of the year.