Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch is proposing a civil unions bill to replace the other Bills already mooted to amend the Marriage Act in Parliament
In a television interview, Entsch attested that his proposal would not 'muddy the waters' of this civil rights issue, but in fact, by offering an easy way out for politicians unwilling to grant equal rights, his proposal has ALREADY muddied the waters.
Mr Entsch, who supports equal rights for same-sex couples, said he had talked to MPs from all sides of politics and didn't believe the gay marriage bills would pass.
"I'm finding in this place that there are those who are absolutely locked on and they are not going to move," Mr Entsch told ABC TV.
"Others are a little bit more, I guess, flexible in their thinking, have some level of discomfort about gay marriage but are very comfortable with the concept of some sort of a civil partnership arrangement."
All too ready to take the bait was former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, whose electorate famously includes a large bloc of G&L voters...
"It would be a tragedy if this parliament did not take the opportunity to at least legislate for civil unions. Marriage is a bridge too far for some people," said Turnbull.
Mr Entsch said this was something that should be ready to go, should there be support. He said he believed it could pass parliament.
"This is not a civil unions bill for the gay community. This is across the spectrum," he said.
"Any couple, irrespective of gender, who make a decision that they want to have their relationship registered and their commitment acknowledged can do so through this without having to go through the Marriage Act."
Bills amending the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples have been proposed by by Labor MP Stephen Jones and jointly by Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie. Both have been referred to parliamentary committees for detailed examination.
A third bill has been proposed by the Greens in the Senate. The Greens have urged Labor to stand firm against any proposal to substitute marriage equality bills currently before the parliament with one for civil unions.
"Civil unions are no substitute for marriage," Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in a statement.
"Such a proposal would entrench discrimination because it says to same-sex couples they don't deserve the same rights as others and that their relationships are second class."
reported by news.com.au