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Same sex marriage laws: what’s really happening?

Written by Natasha Mizzi

Protests in Brisbane signal a need for change in same sex marriage laws

Gay rights and marriage equality in Queensland has become a serious topic of discussion amongst  the politically minded, and it’s not hard to see why. Much controversy surrounds this issue, and political parties and lobby groups are all fighting it out to have their way.

In late 2011, under a Labor Government powered by then premier Anna Bligh, the Queensland LBGT community won its battle for marriage equality, with same sex couples being allowed to marry in a civil union.

But then in June of 2012, it was speculated that Campbell Newman, backed by the Liberal National Party, was in the process of amending the Civil Partnership act. Initially, it was thought that Mr Newman was removing the ability for gay couples to have their unions registered. But the amendment never came, and what was removed was the ability for gay couples to have the state-sanctioned ceremony.  This brought Queensland in line with all the other states in Australia.

When looking at the numbers, it appears that the removal of the ceremony is not as great a loss as expected. Since the introduction of the act, of the 609 registered partnerships, only 21 had declaration ceremonies.

Whilst it may not be ideal in its entirety for gay couples, it keeps both gay rights activists and the Christian lobby groups placated for the time being.

Then in October of this year, gay parents won the battle to have the same rights as heterosexual couples, and will be fully eligible for paid parental leave when they have a baby. This extends to both male and female same sex couples.

There was also an uproar recently when it was decided that same-sex couples in de facto relationships of under two years were banned from having a child through surrogacy. However, that died down fast when it was revealed that the ban also extended to singles and heterosexual couples alike.

Queensland may not be moving forwards as fast as some would like, but it’s not moving backwards. Gay rights is a topic that plays on political agendas every day, and keeping everyone happy is a hard thing for politicians to do.

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