One of the issues has been the ceremony, which the federal government says makes ACT civil unions too like a marriage. According to The Age
This time, the territory assembly amended its laws on the advice of two leading Queen’s Counsels – including the now federal Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler – to answer criticism that the scheme would mirror marriage.
The advice suggests that if civil ceremonies were only open to gay couples, and not heterosexuals, it would be clearer that it did not contravene the federal Marriage Act, which by definition only regulates relationships between a man and a woman.
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said that by making such a change, the territory had removed any federal justification for trying to quash the laws.
So the way to get around a law discriminating against gay people is to pass a law discriminating against straight people. The better solution is to change federal law, but the ACT’s law seems better than the status quo. Continue reading “Canberra’s gay-only civil union ceremonies”