In what has been described as a "landmark occasion", the Queensland government has moved one step closer to recognising the legal rights of civil partnerships.
Deputy premier Andrew Fraser announced on February 4 that the relevant legislation had received the approval of the state governor Penelope Wensley and would come into effect on February 23.
Fraser explained: "While it isn't marriage, it is the next best thing and as far as a state government can go in promoting relationship equality.
"Queensland is a modern, progressive state and the enactment of the civil partnerships legislation underlines that."
The deputy premier went on to say that he was proud to have been able to introduce the Civil Partnerships Bill to parliament and was pleased to see it become enshrined in legislation.
"I know that for many people this day has been a long time coming," said Fraser.
Queensland's attorney general Paul Lucas explained how the Civil Partnerships Act 2011 would serve to allow any couple, regardless of gender, to register their relationship with the state's Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages from March 5 - taking into account the ten-day waiting period in the legislation.
Lucas said: "This legislation removes the artificial and arbitrary barriers to same-sex couples having their relationship formally and legally recognised.
"I expect many couples to use the progressive laws to see their relationship recognised either through registration or a formal ceremony and I congratulate them in advance."
The attorney general also explained that more information on the requirements and responsibilities rendered by the act were freely available.
"The forms are now available to download from the Department of Justice and Attorney General website from today (February 4)," said Lucas.
When the act comes in to effect at the end of the month, there is expected to be a substantial number of couples who - after receiving qualified family law advice - will be registering their intent to have their relationship formally recognised but the state.
While this particular piece of legislation is specific to Queensland, only one of the partners involved in the registration needs to be a resident in the state at the time the papers are filed.
The law also requires a ten-day 'cooling off' period to be observed between official lodgement and the final records being made.
As such, it is a good idea to consult with a family lawyer before entering into what amounts to a binding legal partnership.