Published: Tue, Mar 1st, 2005

Whether you joined in the "Enough is Enough" march on Parliament, or wanted to shoot the marchers, you probably have a view on the new civil union legislation. This legislation was passed into law in March 2005, incorporated in legislation known as "The Relationship (Statutory References) Act".

The result of the legislation is that civil unions have been made legally equivalent to marriages. There is no distinction under the legislation between civil unions and marriage, meaning that people in both forms of those particular relationships will now receive virtually equal rights and responsibilities.

There is, however, no reference in the legislation to de facto relationships and previously mentioned references to de facto partners have been removed to preserve the separate identity of de facto relationships. The Relationship (Statutory References) Act is a prelude to the Civil Union Act which is due to come into force on 26 April 2005.

Once the Civil Union Act has been passed, we will be summarising the changes that this legislation will bring about and highlighting the areas that we believe may be of interest to our clients.

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