Queensland parliament vote to reintroduce same-sex civil unions

Equal marriage activists in Australia (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Politicians showed an overwhelming support for the for the proposal.

MPs in Queensland have voted in support of reinstating the civil unions across the Australian state.

The scheme mean that same-sex relationships will be recognised in the eyes of the law, whilst laying the foundations for a marriage equality.

Politicians showed an overwhelming support for the proposal – with 64 to 22 opting to restore the scheme with.

Any unmarried couples in Queensland may now enter into a civil union, with the law applying to LGBT and heterosexual partners alike.

In June 2012 Queensland removed gay couples’ ability to have children through surrogacy and downgraded civil partnerships to the class of ‘registered relationships’, following a debate in Parliament.

The state first legalised civil unions in 2008 under the Labor government but they were scrapped by Liberal National Premier Campbell Newman

“It’s time to inject some maturity and some dignity into the marriage debate,” current Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk parliament before the vote.

“It’s time to again allow heterosexual couples who might want to affirm their relationship but not take the step of actually getting married the right to do so.”

LGBT acitivists have welcomed the move – but say it is only the first step to same-sex marriage in Australia.

“I welcome the Queensland government’s Civil Partnership law because it will provide same-sex couples with greater legal certainty,” said Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality.

“But civil partnerships are not a substitute for equality in marriage for same-sex couples.”

“Marriage is a universally recognized institution that guarantees equal respect and equal rights in a way civil partnerships cannot,” he added.

Gay marriage is banned Australia, but a plebiscite on the issue is scheduled for after the next federal election by PM Malcolm Turnbull – meaning the vote may not take place until 2017, and marriages might take even longer to begin.

However, the Australian Senate recently passed a motion calling on the PM to scrap plans for a distant ‘public vote’ on same-sex marriage and to act on the issue now.

In the face of overwhelming public support for same-sex marriage – which leaves little doubt about the outcome of the plebiscite – many have called for a simple vote to be held in Parliament instead to allow weddings to begin much sooner.