The Australian Capital Commonwealth--kinda like the District of Columbia for the U.S.--was going to pass a bill that would bestow legal recognition of same-sex couples. Since the ACT was granted autonomy in 1988, they're able to do this... but the federal government can override any legislation they want, and threatened to do so in this case. So the ACT had to scrap the idea.
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced yesterday the Territory had abandoned its civil partnerships legislation and would instead settle for a system of relationship registers virtually identical to the ones operating in Tasmania and Victoria.
The legislation, which was quashed by the Howard government in 2006, would have allowed gay couples to have their relationships recognised in a legally binding ceremony.
It was the issue of the ceremony that prompted objections from the commonwealth, which said it would mimic marriage.
The ACT's amended scheme will allow for an "administrative ceremony", but Mr Corbell said it would have no legal weight.
He said the federal Government had not compromised at any point during negotiations, even when the ACT offered to remove licensed celebrants from the scheme.
Mr Corbell said representatives of Mr Rudd made it clear to him last Thursday the commonwealth was prepared to override the legislation if the ACT enacted it.
Via Evolving Thoughts.