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Carter welcomes progress on Civil Union Bill

5 December 2002 Media Statement

Carter welcomes progress on Civil Union Bill

The completion of a Bill that will give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples has been welcomed by New Zealand's first openly gay MP and Cabinet Minister Chris Carter.

"I'm delighted to see the Civil Union Bill has progressed into Parliament's Private Members ballot. Years of drafting and consultation have produced a strong Bill which should survive the parliamentary process," Mr Carter said.

"All we need now is a little luck to have the Bill drawn from the ballot."

Mr Carter said the Bill was sponsored by Labour's Napier MP Russell Fairbrother, and was initiated by Labour's gay and lesbian wing, Rainbow Labour.

The Bill would create a system of partnership registration that was parallel but separate from marriage, Mr Carter said.

"It bestows on couples, regardless of their sexuality, all the same rights and responsibilities as marriage. Should it be passed into law it will be a milestone in the development of New Zealand into a modern, tolerant society."

He said France had enacted a similar law already. Many other European Union countries also had broadly similar legislation, and the Netherlands and Belgium had allowed same sex couple to actually marry.


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