Australian gay couples waiting on Senate vote

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Same sex couples are awaiting action from the Australian Senate which may be the last area where supporters of the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Civil Unions Bill can ensure it passes.

The ACT’s local assembly approved the bill last month giving same sex couple’s the right to a civil union after watering down the law to ensure it did not represent marriage.

But the Federal Government promised to overturn the law, despite an initial willingness to consider it, Attorney General Philip Ruddock stated that it would be against the Federal Marriage Act as it is too similar to marriage and fails to take heed of the government’s concerns.

ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell told ABC Radio, “The Governor-General’s decision to overturn this legislation can be disallowed by the federal Parliament, that is an outside chance but there is still some hope in that.”

Another option for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is to introduce a second set of gay marriage laws, Mr Corbell said: “We have indicated as a government that if the first option is unsuccessful we will consider reintroducing our legislation in an amended form later this year.

“Discrimination against same-sex relationships persists in this country.

“In the ACT we have sought to address that through our legislation and if this legislation is overturned permanently then we will consider introducing new legislation.”

Prime Minister John Howard said earlier this week, “We are not prepared to accept something which is a plain attempt to equate civil unions with marriage.”