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Australia capital district civil union law blocked for second time

[JURIST] The government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) [official website] promised to continue fighting to adopt legislation that would grant legal recognition to same-sex partnerships after Australia's attorney general recommended Tuesday that the country's federal government overturn a proposed civil unions law for the second time. In December 2006, ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell [official profile] introduced [JURIST report] the Civil Partnerships Bill 2006 [legislative materials] in the district's legislature, saying that the bill reflected the ACT government's belief that it is unacceptable "to discriminate against one part of society."

An earlier civil unions law [legislative materials] was overturned by the Australian federal government [JURIST report] because the law's attempt to equate civil unions with marriage was determined to be unacceptable. The latest bill tried to avoid the same objections by replacing the term "civil union" with "civil partnership" and stopping short of authorizing same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. Ruddock, however, said the changes were not sufficient [press release], and that "[t]he revised bill has not removed the concerns that the Commonwealth had about the Civil Unions Act." ACT has vowed to keep the bill and hope for a change in government in the next federal election.

The ACT is the federal district that includes the Australian capital, Canberra. Under a provision [text] of the ACT Self-Government Act of 1988, the federal government may disallow any ACT enactment within six months. AAP has more.

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