25 September 2023

State of the union clarified for partners

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The Chief Minister and Minister for Justice have acted to assure same-sex couples in registered civil unions that their status will continue to be recognised despite same-sex marriage now being available.

The Ministers were responding to changes to the Commonwealth Marriage Act which prevented couples from entering into new civil unions.

Chief Minister, Andrew Barr said that as the community celebrated the first anniversary of the beginning of marriage equality, the Government wanted to assure more than 50 couples in registered civil unions that their relationships would continue to be legally valid.

His words were echoed by the Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury who said there shouldn’t be any confusion for couples in existing civil unions.

“I want to assure people that the ACT Government considers the relationships of couples who entered a civil union before the commencement of marriage equality on 9 December 2017 remain legally valid,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“If your civil union ceremony was held prior to 9 December 2017, the ACT Government will continue to recognise your union in the same way as a marriage.”

He said that since 9 December 2017, same-sex couples, like all couples in the ACT, could either marry or continue to exercise the option to enter into a civil partnership to ensure their domestic relationship was legally recognised.

Mr Barr said couples already in a civil union had the option to marry should they wish to.

“While the option to marry is available to all Australian couples, the Government acknowledges there are couples in existing civil unions who may not wish to take this step,” Mr Barr said.

“As Australia’s most inclusive city, the Government believes that we shouldn’t interfere with the relationship commitment these couples made to each other.”

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