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Civil Unions A Modern Approach For Kiwi Couples

MEDIA RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday 29 March 2004

"Civil unions are about recognising the relationship of any couple - regardless of sexual orientation, " says Rainbow Labour Co-Chair Michael Wallmannsberger.

Civil Unions are a widespread innovation in Europe and America, giving couples the chance to have their relationships recognised in law without being married. The Civil Union Bill is due to be released for public consultation shortly.

Michael Wallmannsberger says, "Civil unions are a fair compromise between two firmly held views. The bill deals with unjustified discrimination against same-sex couples while respecting the values of New Zealanders who think more traditionally about marriage.

"Currently New Zealand denies same-sex couples the same legal rights and responsibilities as other couples. Same-sex partners, who might have lived together for decades, have no next-of-kin status and must go to costly lengths to protect their estates for each other.

"Labour said it would introduce civil unions in its 2002 election manifesto and we are pleased to see the bill is going ahead," said Michael Wallmannsberger.

ENDS

Rainbow Labour is the sector group for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual Labour Party members. It strongly backs a Government initiative to legislate for civil unions, which will be open to both same-sex and different-sex couples.

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