Proposed law to deliver greater dignity and recognition for same-sex couples in Queensland

A law proposed in the Queensland parliament this afternoon will restore the ability of same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships and hold state sanctioned ceremonies.  

The Convenor of Brisbane Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex Queer Action Group, Phil Browne, welcomed the reforms proposed by Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath.

“The Queensland government is to be praised for doing the most they can under state law to formally recognise all loving couples as equal. The legal and social recognition to be gained, including from the proposed state-sanctioned civil ceremonies, will benefit the health and well-being of LGBTI Queenslanders,” said Mr Browne.

Under the Bligh government Queensland same-sex and other couples were previously able to enter into civil partnerships until the Newman Government downgraded the scheme to a relationships register shortly after coming to power in 2012 and removed the ability of couples to participate in official ceremonies.

“After civil unions were diluted to a relationships registration under the former government, this will restore respect to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Queenslanders and their families,” added Mr Browne.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, also welcomed the reforms in Queensland and the re-introduction of state sanctioned civil ceremonies.

“While civil partnerships are no substitute for access to marriage at a federal level, the Queensland Government deserves credit for proposing a scheme that not only delivers the practical benefit of legal recognition but also the dignity and status of a state sanctioned civil ceremony,” said Ms Brown. 

However, the Bill does not adopt some features recently introduced into relationship recognition schemes in other states that allow for the recognition of foreign same-sex marriages and civil unions. For example, in Tasmania a same-sex couple married in the UK would be automatically recognised under Tasmanian law without the need for the couple to register their relationship.

“This is a very welcome reform and we would encourage the government to draw from the experiences in other jurisdictions to strengthen the Bill even further, such as providing for the recognition of growing numbers of same-sex couples resorting to marriage overseas,” added Ms Brown.

The LGBTIQ Action Group and the Human Rights Law Centre will be reviewing the detail of the proposed legislation and look forward to discussing the Bill with the Attorney-General and Queensland parliament more broadly.

A copy of the Government's media release is available here.

A copy of the Bill and explanatory memorandum will be available here.

For further comment or queries please contact:

Phil Browne, Convenor, Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group, 0428 140 359

Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre, 0422 235 522