Gay marriage debate heats up again
THE issue of gay marriage has flared up again, sparking the debate about controversial civil union laws for same sex couples. "Newly weds" Marty Steere and Ricky Klingsporn are angered by the latest developments, which they say discriminates against them.
LNP put the civil union debate back on the floor when Parliament resumed last week and Queensland's gay communities responded by accusing the Premier of being a bully.
They say it will be one step forward and two steps backward if Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie recommends the legislation passed earlier this year be scrapped, as expected.
Premier Campbell Newman hinted during the election campaign the LNP would act if it won power. He said in March the party would look at repealing civil union legislation if it got into government, but admitted there were other important things on which to focus.
In response to recent media interest on the issue, a representative for the Premier's office said the matter was not a priority with no submission on the issue put to Cabinet.
"I don't understand how the government can say 'yes you can be recognised as a union' and then suddenly say, 'oh we've changed our minds'," Mr Klingsporn said.
"I also don't understand why the gay and lesbian community doesn't do a class action lawsuit against the government for discrimination."
LNP Member for Gympie David Gibson said in his experience most people were not directly concerned about the civil union issue.
"It was made very clear during the state election campaign that an LNP Government would be looking at changes to the Civil Partnership Act provided it didn't leave people in legal limbo," he said.
"My understanding is this is an issue that the Attorney-General is looking at but there is yet to be a submission presented to Cabinet on it.
"The facts are, civil unions are now law and people have formalised their relationships under this Act and, as such, I do not believe we should rush in to repeal it but rather we should ensure that proper processes are followed.
"Any changes to the Act will not only impact upon the legal recognition of those existing relationships but it will also no doubt have health and social impacts on the couples involved and as such we should proceed carefully."
Gay couples who have taken the plunge since the civil union legislation was passed wonder if they will be reimbursed for the cost of their commitment ceremonies.
"A fair few couples I know have gone out and done it now. Is the government going to offer refunds for our weddings?" Mr Klingsporn asked. "These ceremonies, just like any wedding, cost thousands. The dinner, celebrant, car and venue hire, honeymoon, rings, outfits..."
Nev Sauer and Ben Wood have planned a civil union ceremony for July in Memorial Park. Now their future is unsure. "The government expects us to register as a couple with Centrelink so why can't we be registered as a couple with Births, Deaths and Marriages?" they wondered.