Same-sex Gympie couples have been tying the knot since the Civil Partnership bill was passed. Gay rights campaigners say recent changes make civil unions akin to registering a pet dog.
Same-sex Gympie couples have been tying the knot since the Civil Partnership bill was passed. Gay rights campaigners say recent changes make civil unions akin to registering a pet dog. Renee Pilcher

Gay issue fires up parliament

MARRIAGE equality is a controversial issue, prompting a range of studies into same-sex unions and sparking heated debates between politicians in parliament, work colleagues, clergies, parishioners, families and friends.

Member for Gympie David Gibson spoke up during a parliamentary sitting on Thursday in response to a "politically charged" debate on same-sex relationships that "distressed" spectators in the gallery.

He reminded his counterparts it was their responsibility to represent all Queenslanders, regardless of their religious faith and sexual orientation and the matter needed to be handled with respect.

Security had to remove gay rights campaigners for disrupting parliament during the fiery and at times offensive debate, which ended after about five hours with changes to civil partnerships laws being passed at 12.25am yesterday.

Under the Newman government's compromise the scheme will be renamed from civil partnerships to a relationships register and aspects of same-sex unions that mimic marriage, such as state-sanctioned ceremonies, will be removed.

This week's release of census data has shown that around 1350 same sex Australian couples have travelled overseas to marry, while 65,000 Australian homosexuals are in unrecognised de facto relationships.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said the statistics showed how deeply same-sex couples valued marriage. He said the Australian Government's failure to recognise same-sex marriages hurt the economy

US researchers have estimated the minimum injection of new spending into the Australian economy from same-sex weddings would be $161 million.

Gympie Times


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