Debate on West Australian same sex unions welcomed

wedding ringsSexuality spokesperson for the WA Greens, Lynn MacLaren MLC says she looks forward to parliamentary debate on ending relationship discrimination after it was revealed the WA National Party is set to introduce a Civil Partnership Bill.

While the National Party has not confirmed a time-frame for the introduction of the Bill, Ms MacLaren says it would most likely be passed with support from the Greens and Labor Party.

‘In State Parliament, the Liberals are the only party without a policy which supports civil unions,’ said Ms MacLaren.

‘They may have a conscience vote, in which case, some elected members are likely to support civil unions.’

A draft of the bill is said to define civil partnership as a legally recognised relationship between two adults, regardless of their sex and would be obtained through an application to the Registrar of the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It may also include creating civil partnership notaries who would be able to act as celebrants for civil partnership ceremonies. 

Details of the bill are yet to be finalised as it still must receive support from the Nationals’ party room. It is then hoped the Barnett Government will allow for parliamentary debate on the Bill.

‘It’s a debate we can win,’ said Ms MacLaren, adding that there is still much work to be done.  

‘For those in the community who still think civil unions are as far as we should go, then this bill will have real appeal.

‘However, full marriage equality remains the Greens’ focus, and we hope to deliver that nationally after the new Greens Senators take their seats in July,' added Ms MacLaren.

Although the proposed bill will allow same sex couples to have their relationships recognised by law in Western Australia, it falls short of full equality which can only be achieved through ending discrimination in the federal Marriage Act.

Greens MP Adam Bandt plans to introduce a bill early in the year in the House of Representatives, building on the work of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

If this federal bill is successful, Ms MacLaren says same sex couples may already have equal marriage rights by the time the WA Nationals Civil Unions Bill is debated in the State Parliament.

 Lynn MacLaren is available for comment on 0403 721 951