Queensland's first civil unions registered

23 Feb 2012


(Via The Brisbane Times)

Same sex couples lined up outside the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages to be the first to register their civil partnerships with the Queensland Government this morning.

It was history in the making, according to safe sex campaign "Rip & Roll" models and partners Michael O'Brien and Anthony Gillespie.

"This has been a long time coming and is a very firm step in the right direction for full equality," Mr O'Brien said.

"I think it shows that we're [Queenslanders] progressive and that we're moving forward and that we are really showing the rest of Australia that we're ready for change."

Couple of eight years Eamonn Keane and Mark Cincotta said they had been planning the day for a long time.

"This morning it was like, 'this is it, we're going to do it'," Mr Cincotta said.

"It's fair that we have the same rights as everybody else, it's not that it's just for the fun of being named together, but it's a civil responsibility as well - we do pay our taxes."

Q News editor and civil union activist Ray Mackereth said it was an emotional day.

"These laws are just fabulous for making sure that Queensland's more equal for everyone," he said.

"It's something that I cried out for when it was passed in Parliament."

Public servant Rose Njoroge was picking up paperwork to register her partnership because her same-sex marriage in Connecticut was not recognised in Queensland.

"What we would really like to push for is for the marriage legislation to be changed so that both gay men, lesbian women and straight couples can marry, so that my marriage is as valid as anybody else's marriage," she said.

Equal rights activist Phil Browne said it showed "love conquers all".

"It's very, very exciting and just the fact that people are having full legal recognition carries a lot of weight, not only for the couples involved but also for their families, friends and extended social networks," he said.

Registration of a civil partnership provides couples with proof of the existence of their relationship, for example for hospital visitation rights, superannuation, tax and government welfare payments.

New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have similar laws that recognise civil partnerships.

Mr O'Brien said he and his partner were treating the registration of their civil union as "low key".

"We'll get married when we can get married and this is just a first step along the way," he said.

A standard ten day cooling off period follows registration, so couples who registered today will have formal recognition of their civil partnership on March 5.