Celebrating a win for love

Toasting the civil union bill in Queensland are (from left) Artie Rocke, Ashley West, Maggie Gibson, Stephen Hall and James Crawford.
Toasting the civil union bill in Queensland are (from left) Artie Rocke, Ashley West, Maggie Gibson, Stephen Hall and James Crawford. Alistair Brightman

SIMON Cole proposed to his partner Steve Turner in September, and planned to have a legal ceremony in New Zealand.

But after Queensland's civil union bill was passed on Wednesday, the Tiaro couple is now thinking about a second celebration for all their friends and families at home.

"I heard it on the news, and I was so happy, not just for us but for all the gay people in Queensland," Mr Cole said.

"Without the civil union bill here, we would have been legally recognised in New Zealand, but technically that would have evaporated when we got back home.

"Now it will still be valid, and we are looking at having a ceremony here too."

After months of debate, it was a close call to determine whether the bill would go ahead, but it eventually passed 47 votes to 40 in parliament on Wednesday night - despite LNP members voting as a bloc against it.

MPs opposing the bill have called the bill a political stunt and claim it was rushed through in the last sitting week of the year in a bid to grab votes before the election next year.

Hervey Bay man Ashley West also welcomed the news.

"It's a fantastic thing to happen and it's really brought Queensland ahead of most of the other states," he said.

"Our federal government has recognised same-sex relationships when it comes to Centrelink payments, so if you recognise that, then you have to recognise civil unions."

He said the response by Fraser Coast MPs Chris Foley and Ted Sorensen was disappointing - both voted against the bill, and Foley described the idea of a civil union as "kooky social engineering".

"There are a lot of gay people in the area," Mr West said.

"They're asking us to support them and vote for them, but how about they support us for a change?

"We're no different to heterosexual couples, we have the same costs of living and make the same lifetime plans together, and that should be recognised.

"It's all about breaking down the barriers," he said.

Topics:  civil union gay community queensland government same-sex

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