Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 438 ..
Of course, we support the call for continuing to actively engage with and support the LGBTIQ community by actively supporting LGBTIQ public events and activities across Canberra because this type of visible support from government contributes to the reduction of exclusion and isolation. It assists members of this community to feel that they are valued and that they belong, as they do belong.
The Greens support the call for a tripartisan statement in support of marriage equality from this Assembly because it is the right thing to do for the people of the ACT and, more widely, the people of Australia. We stand with our federal colleagues who we know will vote for marriage equality. They have every time and will continue to do so until marriage equality exists.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (10.16): This is an important motion that I am proud to support, and I thank my colleague Mr Pettersson for moving it today. It goes without saying that people who identify as LGBTIQ are valuable and equal members of our community. This should be reflected in our laws, our institutional frameworks and our social norms. We each have a role in achieving this but none more so than the government.
Madam Speaker, let me read you a list. All of these nations have something in common: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, United States, Luxembourg and Colombia. All of these countries have legalised same-sex marriage and next month Finland will join their ranks. Their governments have listened to their people and have done the right thing. They have recognised that no-one should be barred from this important civil institution because of their sexual orientation. It is simply a matter of respect and equality before the law.
Meanwhile, in Australia, our federal government is out of step with the majority of Australians. It refuses to listen, instead choosing to dither, delay and, in some ranks, outright oppose. For however long this continues, I am proud that the ACT government will continue to make our own position on marriage equality clear, and continue to lead the way by updating our statute books to remove discrimination, offering support services and programs to the LGBTIQ community, and promoting attitudes of acceptance in our society.
Progressive legislative changes in the ACT reflect and respect our diverse community. In recent years we have reviewed our statute books and made amendments to remove provisions that were discriminatory towards the LGBTIQ community. We have also updated the definition of “intersex” and broadened the circumstances in which intersex people are able to formally change their legal status. We legally recognise same-sex relationships, and civil partnership legislation means that same-sex couples are treated the same as married couples under territory law.
Just yesterday we further broadened the criteria for civil unions by passing laws which amended the Civil Unions Act to allow the automatic recognition of formally recognised overseas or interstate same-sex relationships. This is a timely change, as