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Australian Capital Approves Same-sex Unions


Legislators in the self-governing Australian Capital Territory, which includes the city of Canberra, amended the civil partnerships law to allow same-sex unions, but the decision could put ACT at odds with the federal government, which opposes same-sex civil unions.

The move marked the latest step in an ongoing gay rights battle, according to The Age.

"Laws allowing gay marriage in the ACT were repealed after federal intervention in 2006, and a second stand-off ensued in 2008 over legal civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples," The Age reported. "That was resolved when the assembly backed down and allowed civil partnerships without an official ceremony after it became clear another federal intervention was on the cards."

Now, ACT attorneys have attempted to circumvent the federal government by writing a law that removes same-sex civil unions from federal jurisdiction.

"This time, the territory assembly amended its laws on the advice of two leading Queen's Counsels -- including the now federal Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler -- to answer criticism that the scheme would mirror marriage," The Age reported.

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Julie Bolcer