Attorney-General Robert McClelland said 68 commonwealth laws will be changed in a major step to ensure full equality before the law for all Australians, regardless of their sexuality.
"The delay in removing this discrimination is a matter of shame for both sides of the house," Mr McClelland said.
"It is time to stop treating people differently under commonwealth laws or programs because of who they love."
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found last year that at least 20,000 same-sex couples experienced systemic discrimination on a daily basis, Mr McClelland said.
The couples and their families were denied basic financial and work-related entitlements.
Lyle Shelton, Chief of Staff at Australian Christian Lobby talks to David Gibbons from InFocus.