Media Release: 27th November, 2009: Gay Ceremonies Law Still Falls Short of Equality say Democrats

DARREN CHURCHILL

ACT Democrats President

Media Release: 27th November, 2009

Gay Ceremonies Law Still Falls Short of Equality say Democrats

“It’s a slow road to full equality for Gay and Lesbian people” claims ACT Democrats President, Darren Churchill.

Local media reported last night (Thursday) that the ACT and Federal governments had reached a compromise that will allow gay couples to continue holding ceremonies in front of a civil partnership notary.

“It’s a positive sign that the Federal and ACT governments have now reached a compromise that will allow gay and lesbian couples to hold commitment ceremonies and register their relationship” said Mr Churchill

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction and moves towards greater equality. And this time, at least, it seems that the Rudd government has recognised the right of the ACT to make it’s own democratic decisions. So, in those respects it’s a big step forward.

“However, it still isn’t complete equality. It compromises on this issue. When it comes to the question of equal rights of gay and lesbian people (or any other group of people), compromise denies equality. The ACT government should fight harder for the rights of gay people and for the right to legislate in the interest of all Canberrans!” declared Mr Churchill

“In 1973, the ACT became the first place in Australia where homosexuality was decriminalised when John Gorton’s (1) Bill was passed in the federal parliament following a “conscience vote”. In 1988 another Act of the federal parliament gave the ACT self government. However, the law still discriminates against gay people and still does not give the ACT the same rights of self-determination as the states.”

“It’s time to bring things into the 21st Century by amending the federal Marriage Act 1961 to allow a union between two people of the prescribed legal age to be treated equally under the law with the recognised societal definition of “marriage”(2). This needs to be an Australia-wide situation” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill

ACT Democrats President

darren.churchill@act.democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

(1) Sir John Gorton was Liberal Prime Minister from 1968 to 1971.  He was an independent Senate candidate for the ACT in 1975 (backed by the Australia Party, who merged with the New Liberal Movement to become the Australian Democrats in 1977).

(2) The Australian Democrats made this very point as part of their submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009.

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