The following is an excerpt from "Gay unions now legal in ACT" by AAP published on
An Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Greens Bill to legalise civil ceremonies between same sex couples has been passed by the Territory's Parliament.
The Bill allows gay and lesbian couples to create their civil partnerships through a legally-binding ceremony before friends and family.
"This legislation is another step along the road to full equality for same sex couples in Australia, and we are delighted that the assembly has passed it today," ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who drafted the Bill, said in a statement.
Mr Rattenbury said it was about providing decency and respect and acknowledgingthat same sex relationships have equal value in the ACT community.
"We understand that this is not same sex marriage," he said, adding that the ACT had done everything it could within its constitutional powers to address the issue.
"This is not the end of the debate for equal rights for same sex couples."
The ACT Greens hope the Bill's passage will add momentum for equal rights across the nation.Gay rights activists say the spotlight is now focused on whether Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will intervene and overturn the new laws.