Gay bill vote wins praise
TWENTY-TWO years ago to the day, it was illegal to be a homosexual in Queensland.
Now, same-sex couples, such as Central Queensland couple Natalie Brewster and Kimberly Walker, are celebrating a win after the Queensland Civil Union Bill was passed in Parliament on Wednesday night.
For Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten, it marks a 22-year political career that started and ended with abolishing discrimination in the state.
Mr Schwarten, who likely saw his last day in Parliament yesterday if the next state election is called early, recalls speaking to decriminalise gay sexuality in 1990.
"It's pleasing to finish my career on that," he said.
Mr Schwarten said he feels his conscience is clear, and doesn't expect everyone to agree with him on supporting same-sex civil unions.
Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter welcomed the passing of the bill.
"This looks like a reasonably sensible legislation recognising gay rights without compromising the principles of marriage between heterosexual couples," he said.
Ms Brewster and Ms Walker, who live in Mackay, say it could be difficult at times to be in a same-sex relationship as there were very judgmental people in the community.
"Being in a same sex relationship is really no different than any other relationship," Ms Brewster said.