[JURIST] The Legislative Assembly [official website] of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) [official website] passed a law Friday that will enable same-sex domestic partners to register their relationships with the government. A part of the legislation which would have legalized same-sex civil union ceremonies was removed prior to passage [JURIST report] because the Australian federal government [official website] threatened to veto the Civil Partnerships Bill 2006 [legislative materials; PDF text] if it passed the Assembly. AP has more [news report].
The legislation will grant same-sex couples access to Commonwealth pensions, tax and social security benefits. The Civil Partnerships Bill was introduced after an earlier civil unions law [legislative materials] was overturned by the federal government [JURIST report] because that law's provisions made civil unions appear unacceptably similar to marriage. Despite that action, the federal government has announced plans to change over 100 laws [JURIST report] to eliminate same-sex discrimination.