The parliament of the Australian state of Queensland has passed a law recognising same-sex civil unions. Victoria, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory already officially recognise such relationships.
“The bill that is before the Parliament is a bill that seeks to strike a blow against prejudice and strike a blow against discrimination,” Premier Anna Bligh told parliament during debate.
Health Minister Geoff Wilson voted against the bill saying, “The more I have thought about it, about what I personally believe according to my faith, unfortunately I can’t support the bill.”
Independent Member of Parliament Peter Wellington tweeted, “I supported the Civil Partnership Bill because it is fair and reasonable and respects the rights of all.”
While the governing Australian Labor Party allowed its MPs a conscience vote, the Liberal National Party voted en masse against the Bill.
“The LNP will prioritise the issues for all Queenslanders, and civil partnership is not on the priority list in the minds of Queenslanders,” said Jarrod Bleijie, LNP Member of Parliament. “The passing of this bill will not save Queenslanders money, it will not ease pressure on their cost of living pressures, it will not get our treasured AAA credit rating back.”
Gay rights campaigners were thrilled. Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians national spokeswoman Shelley Ardent told reporters “There was absolute joy, it was fantastic. There were a couple of hundred people watching the vote and we made so much noise when the laws passed that we got in trouble”.
The billed passed 47 votes to 40.