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Civil Union Act: Day 1

Tue 26 Apr 2005 In: New Zealand Daily News

The hard-fought battle for same-sex couples' legal recognition ends in New Zealand today with the Civil Union Act passing into law. From today, same-sex and opposite-sex couples can apply to the office of Births, Dirths and Marriages for their civil union licence. Prime Minister Helen Clark has extended her congratulations to the GLBT community. “Despite some of the hurtful claims and dire predictions made by its opponents, this legislation has always been about enabling people ina loving relationship to register it lawfully, and to send a message to society that they are committed to each other for the long haul,” she said in a statement. Wellington couple Des Smith and John Jolliff hope to be first in line at the Internal Affairs office this morning to register their intent to civil unionise. The couple, together for 19 years, are looking forward to publicly declaring their love and achieving legal certainty for their relationship. “That legality will say, you're my next-of-kin, and that's the most important thing,” says Smith. Anglican vicar and civil union celebrant Keith King says he doesn't expect a rush to the altar with the passing of the Act, as he feels couples will take time to consider options on offer that have never been available before. “For same-sex couples who have been on the edges, and marginalised by society for ever, [they] now have an opportunity to be accepted into the mainstream of society, which I think is important,” he says.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 26th April 2005 - 12:00pm

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