(Australia) - Victorian human rights group, Civil Union Action (CUA), has welcomed the Victorian Government's announcement today to introduce new legislation in Parliament this week for a relationships register, but said the register should include equal substantive rights and the option for official ceremonies. MLA for Prahran, Tony Lupton, made the announcement via press release today. Mr Lupton chaired the working group that recently reported to the State Government on relationship recognition.
Mr Lupton said, "The establishment of a state-wide relationships register is yet another important step in ensuring equality for all Victorians."
However, Civil Union Action spokesperson John Kloprogge said there is no reason not to take the proposals further.
"If the Government is truly interested in equality for same sex couples, they would legislate to allow the option of official ceremonies for couples registering their relationships," Mr Kloprogge said.
"With a potentially more progressive government now at the Federal level, the Victorian Government needn't worry as much about the Commonwealth quashing the legislation."
Mr Kloprogge wondered what the deliberate omission of official ceremonies might mean for same-sex couples.
"You have to ask, if the Government is unwilling to allow official ceremonies, what are they afraid of? Do they want to hide our love, and worsen the invisibility of same-sex relationships in public life?", Mr Kloprogge asked.
Recommendations for the inclusion of official ceremonies we heard during public consultation on the relationships register in June 2007. The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby's 'Not Yet Equal' Survey 2005 also demonstrated substantial community support for a ceremony option.
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