Australian City To Launch Gay Partner Registry
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
November 17, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET
(Melbourne, Australia) Melbourne,
Australia's second largest city, is set to create a domestic partner registry
for same-sex couples. The plan was put forward by openly gay Deputy Lord
Mayor Gary Singer and endorsed by Lord Mayor John So.
The registry would be largely symbolic but in a
country which has outlawed same-sex marriage the symbolism is important to gay
and lesbian couples. In 2004 the federal government passed a law defining
marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"This register will provide evidence of a relationship,"
said Singer. "It doesn't have the legal status of marriage but it does provide
some evidentiary basis in court for gay and lesbian couples."
The registry would be a first for the state of
Victoria and is based on one created in 2002 in Sydney.
The announcement came only days after the state
of South Australia announced legislation creating a domestic partner registry
that will provide many of the rights of marriage.
Under the Domestic Partners Bill, introduced in
the state Parliament on Tuesday (story),
any two people who live together as a couple will be covered. It also would
allow siblings or other couplings to register.
Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said that he
expects the bill will have little difficulty in passing. The opposition
parties have announced their backing for the bill.
The legislation would allow same and opposite-sex
couples to register and be able to share financial affairs, make medical and
funeral arrangements for one another.
Earlier this year the Australian Capital
Territory passed legislation giving same-sex couples most of the rights of
but the bill was overturned by the federal government.
Atkinson said that he did not
expect his bill would meet opposition from the federal government because it
recognizes the relationships between all types of interdependent couples.
Following the rejection of the ACT legislation
the federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission began an investigation
into inequities faced by same-sex couples. The commission has been holding
hearings across the country. (story)
Public opinion has been slowly shifting in favor
of recognizing same-sex relationships and Prime Minister John Howard now has
suggested his government may look at ways of granting limited recognition to
same-sex couples. But Howard said he has no intention of repealing the ban on