QLD Civil Unions are to be amended to come into line with the rest of the states as of this afternoon. The change will mean that same-sex couples will still be able to register their union, however will no longer be able to have a state-sanctioned ceremony. Couples will be able to participate in a private ceremony, should they wish.
Premier Campbell Newman says Queensland’s same-sex civil unions laws will not be completely repealed, but will be amended to bring the legislation into line with other states.
Under the proposed changes, same-sex couples would still be able to register their relationship with the government, but would no longer be able to have a state-sanctioned declaration ceremony.
They would be able to have a private ceremony instead if they wished.
Mr Newman made this change in order to compromise with Christian groups, according to News.com.au:
Mr Newman said it was a “sensible” compromise.
“It will no longer emulate marriage, which I believe is demonstrating a lot of good faith to the Christian churches who have lobbied us,” he said.
“But on the other side of the equation for those in the gay and lesbian communities who fought hard to have such a registration process in Queensland, it preserves their legal rights.
“For those who rallied recently and said don’t take away our civil rights, they lose nothing from this change, they lose nothing whatsoever.”
While I applaud Mr Newman for standing by his previous statements that repealing the civil unions would be unacceptable and intolerable, against his party’s line, I feel like this change has gone backwards in terms of marriage equality.
That said, I agree with Mr Newman that a decision regarding allowing same sex marriage in Australia should be made at a federal level.
For me, it boils down to the simple fact that our law is not Christian law, and should therefore be exempt from the Christian word. If civil unions are not permitted a ceremony as they offend the ACL by mimicking marriage, what of secular heterosexual couples having civil unions? What of Islamic, Jewish or Hindu ceremonies? Do these offend?
At times like this, I always find myself drawn back to Obama’s statement regarding abortion.
“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”
If the government wishes to state that marriage must remain solely between a man and a woman, then it must explain why this violates a principle accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
What do you think? Is this a step forward or a step backward? Did Campbell Newman do the right thing?
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Tamsin Howse has written 180 posts.
Tamsin is a wife, stepmother and blogger with a passion for people and relationships, fashion and beauty, and an inability to successfully complete household tasks. Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of KiKi & Tea.
Follow on twitter: @TamsinHowse