TASMANIAN GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUP
Media ReleaseTuesday November 17th 2009
OFFICIALLY-RECOGNISED TAS RELATIONSHIP CEREMONIES WELCOMETAS MOVE PUTS PRESSURE ON RUDD NOT TO OVERTURN A.C.T. CEREMONIES
Tasmanian gay activists have welcomed today's announcement by the Tasmanian Government that couples entering State Deeds of Relationship can now have officially-recognised ceremonies involving celebrants and witnesses.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the new ceremonies will allow same-sex couples to declare their love and commitment in front of friends and family members in a way which is dignified, solemn and has official recognition.
"Until now, registering a Deed of Relationship has been a dry, administrative process, but the Government's initiative allows it to be linked to, and marked by, an officially-recognised declaration of love and commitment overseen by a celebrant and witnessed by loved ones", Mr Croome said.
"This will allow same-sex couples to have that special day on which their friends and family members gather to officially and publicly celebrate a couple's union."
"Our hope is that this will increase the numbers of couples who take advantage of the greater legal security and social recognition that comes with registering a Deed of Relationship.""The Tasmanian Relationships Act is a world-class body of law, and now that body has a heart."
From today, changes to official regulations mean parters entering Tasmanian Deeds of Relationship are able to nominate the date they conduct their relationship ceremony as the date their Deed of Relationship is to be registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. As part of the ceremony an official certificate of relationship is signed by the partners, their celebrant and witnesses to mark the commencement of the Deed of Relationship.
Under the Relationships Act, passed in 2003, couples in Deeds of Relationship have the same rights in state law as married couples. Following the passage of last year's national same-sex entitlements law, state registered partners are also recognised in federal law.
Mr Croome said the new Deed of Relationship ceremonies should not be confused with marriage.
"The recognition of personal relationships in state law was never intended as a substitute for equality in marriage, something which same-sex couples still do not have."
Last week the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly amended the Territory's Civil Partnership Act to allow for same-sex partnership ceremonies.
A legislative amendment was not required in
because the Relationships Act has allowed for the possibility of official ceremonies from its inception. Tasmania
Mr Croome said the new Tasmanian ceremonies puts pressure on the Rudd Government to allow the ACT to also have official ceremonies.
"With officially-recognised ceremonies allowed in
, the Federal Government has no grounds upon which to ban them in the A.C.T.", Mr Croome said. Tasmania
Ceremonies will not begin to occur until December, due to the 28 day period it takes to process applications for Deeds of Relationship.
As at September 30th this year 145 couples had entered a Deed of Relationship with 9 revocations. Of the remaining 136 recognised couples 52 are male couples, 51 female couples, 31 opposite-sex couples and 2 caring couples.
These figures are exactly proportional to the number of partners who have entered civil unions in
since 2004. New Zealand
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668. For comment from a registered marriage celebrant who conducts same-sex commitment ceremonies, contact Peter Power on 0417 017 105.TASMANIAN GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUPMedia StatementTuesday November 17th 2009SAME-SEX PARENT LAW PASSES FINAL HURDLEA Tasmanian Government law giving legal parental status to the same-sex partner of a woman who has a child through fertility treatmenthas passed its final hurdle and will now become law.Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome,said the move will bring legal peace-of-mind to many Tasmanianfamilies.Womens' Legal Service Managing Solicitor, Susan Fahey, said herservice will now begin the process of educating same-sex couples,their families and the broader community about the impact of reform.This afternoon the Tasmanian Lower House accepted Upper Houseamendments making the legal recognition of co-mothersretrospectively effective from the passage of the Relationships Actin 2003 when same-sex relationships were recognised in otherTasmanian laws.The retrospectivity amendment was proposed by Windermere(Launceston) Upper House member, Ivan Dean, to compensate for thefailure of the Upper House to support co-mother recognition when itwas first proposed by the State Government as part of theRelationships Act six years ago.Tasmanian Attorney-General, Lara Giddings, who this morningannounced the commencement of officially-recognised relationshipceremonies in Tasmania, said the Government was "pleased andsurprised" that the traditionally-conservative Upper House had madegood its previous failure to recognise co-mothers by not onlysupporting the new law but making it retrospective.For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or SusanFahey on 0418 434 226.