Same-sex protesters gather at Queensland's Parliament House
A CROWD of protesters has gathered outside Parliament House ahead of debate over proposed changes to Queensland's civil partnership laws.Same-sex "civil unions" and the state-sanctioned ceremonies which celebrate them look set to become a thing of the past from tonight as the LNP seeks to urgently amend the legislation.
Debate on the new Government's changes to the controversial Civil Partnerships Act, which was passed under the Labor Government late last year is underway in State Parliament.
About 100 gay rights activists protested outside ahead of proceedings, chanting: "Campbell Newman, LNP champions of bigotry".
The law which was introduced as a private members Bill by former Treasurer Andrew Fraser allows all couples to register their "civil union" and hold a ceremony if they so wish.
Opening the debate, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the proposed changes were a "slap in the face" for same-sex couples.
"I fundamentally believe in equality for all Queenslanders including people in same-sex relations," she said.
Deputy Speaker Mark Robinson asked for silence after members of the public gallery burst in to applause during Ms Palaszczuk 's speech.
Deception Bay resident Jasmine Linton and her partner of eight years Emma Butcher were among the protestors rallying outside State Parliament.
The pair had a marriage ceremony four years ago and chose to make their partnership legal this year via the newly-minted civil union laws.
“It was one of the most exciting days ever when we heard that you could get civil unioned in Queensland,” Ms Linton said.
“When Campbell Newman came out last week and said that he would leave the civil unions the same but not have a ceremony we were really upset because it’s like you can register something but we don’t want to see it, it’s not okay.
“It’s complete homophobia, it’s discrimination.”
Ms Butcher said renaming civil unions to registered relationships was offensive because “it’s the same as registering your dog”.
Ms Palaszczuk attacked the government for rushing the legislation through and said the Government needed to accept same sex relationships were a “reality”.
“We need to accept that in our society we need to accept there are different view but the community attitudes around this issue and you must move with the times,” she said.
“Queensland has come a long way and this parliament should not remove rights from decent Queenslanders whose only sin is that they are in a committed loving same-sex relationship and want to officially celebrate that relationship.”
Speaking is support of the amendments Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the LNP’s changes struck a good balance. “If we can be accused of anything we can be accused of not going as far as some people wanted us to go.” Deputy Speaker Mark Robinson has warned the public gallery for a second time after some onlookers jeered when Lawrence Springborg said marriage was between a man and a woman.
Mr Robinson said he would clear the gallery if he had to intervene again.
Later, a member of the public was removed from the public gallery after calling out during Member for Coomera Michal Crandon’s speech. The outburst occurred as Mr Crandon said the law allowed people to “register their interest in one another” prompting a man watching on from the gallery to call out “we’re not animals". Others in the gallery applauded as the man was removed by police and security. Deputy Speaker Mark Robinson again threatened to clear the entire Gallery if there were any more outbursts.