Register of UNMARRIED relationships in NSW?
The man who will be the state's attorney-general if government changes at next year's election, Greg Smith, went down with the metaphorical ship late on Tuesday night, when the Legislative Assembly voted overwhelmingly to establish a register for unmarried couples.
The register is to make it easier for such couples (opposite-sex and same-sex) to qualify for de facto status but is seen by some to be a back door into a blazing world of permissiveness.
While the government voted along party lines, the Coalition declared a conscience vote on the legislation. Cue Smith: "For too long the debate about marriage … has been dominated by ideological pontificating," he told Parliament. "The passing of this bill will be another increment in the undermining and destruction of marriage and the traditional family."
After managing to get in a reference to the Alamo (!), Smith claimed: "The supporters of marriage and the family feel like the occupants of strife-torn Derry during the troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s."
Also opposing the legislation were Michael Richardson (Lib), Greg Aplin Lib), Katrina Hodgkinson (Nat), Malcolm Kerr (Lib), Wayne Merton (Lib), Andrew Stoner (Nat), John Williams (Nat) and Thomas George (Nat).
The bill, which was to be presented to the Legislative Assembly last night, is not certain to go through. Before the session, the Premier, Kristina Keneally, who has been referring to the bill on Twitter as "My Govt's Bill" (even though she herself did not vote on it), tweeted the following: "My Govt's Relationship Register Bill, endorsed by my cabinet & caucus, risks defeat today in upper house at the hands of Barry O'Farrell."
But even Keneally must see that a conscience vote hardly constitutes a concerted effort to defeat "her" - or any - bill.
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