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Australia senate passes bills giving equal rights to same-sex couples

[JURIST] The Australian Senate [official website] on Monday approved [Senate Daily Summary, PDF] legislation that would allow same-sex couples to enjoy most of the same rights as heterosexual couples, but would not give same-sex couples the right to marry. The Senate passed both a General Law Reform bill [text, PDF] and a Superannuation bill [text, PDF], which will amend federal laws to provide same-sex couples with equal rights. The new legislation would redefine a "de facto relationship" to include same-sex couples and would give them equal rights in terms of taxation, health care, adoption, and other areas. The bills must now go before the House of Representatives [official website] where they are expected to pass. The Canberra Times has local coverage.

In April, the Australian government announced plans [JURIST report] to end discrimination against same-sex couples in response to a 2007 report [text, PDF] by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission [official website], recommending legislative changes to 58 federal laws [JURIST report] to end discrimination against same-sex couples. A national poll released in June 2007 found that a majority of Australians also support same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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