Federal Cabinet will discuss a response today
to the ACT Government’s plan to allow same-s*x civil unions. The Australianreports that Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock will brief the meeting on concessions the
ACT has agreed to so the unions do not have the same status as marriages.

“The ACT Government has made several
concessions to ensure that civil union reforms for homos*xuals are not
overturned
by the commonwealth,” Sam Maiden writes. “But there is still unease
within the Federal Coalition about the legislation, which will also
offer ‘quickie
divorces’ that are not as onerous as those required to end traditional
marriages… Cabinet will consider the ACT laws today, amid concerns
among
conservative members that the legislation undermines marriage.”

However, pressure is also coming from
within the Coalition to support same-s*x civil unions.

A fortnight ago Queensland MP Warren Entsch
wrote to all Coalition MPs urging an end to anti-gay discrimination.
The former frontbencher said he was “alarmed to discover the extent of the
discrimination that exists in federal government legislation”.

Another unlikely Queensland conservative,
Peter Lindsay, has said he does not support gay marriage, but believes
same-s*x couples should have their relationships recognised as de factos or by
civil unions .

“This is not about gay marriage, I accept
that that debate is over and we are not going to change the law regarding gay
marriage, but this is about protecting people who are in genuine long-term
relationships from being needlessly discriminated against,” Entsch told The
Sunday Age
,
adding preliminary discussions with Prime Minister John Howard had been
positive.

“I don’t think even he realised the level
of discrimination that exists,” Entsch said.

Peter Fray

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