It's not the end goal, but it's a step in the right direction:

A same-sex relationship register should be in place in Victoria by the end of this year, Premier Steve Bracks says.

He said he remained opposed to gay marriage, but said the register would allow improved legal recognition of gay couples and also those in defacto and long-term care giving relationships.


"What we're saying is we're not going to (take) any step in relation to civil unions or gay marriages, we actually have made a statement about removing discrimination," Mr Bracks said.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission described the planned register as a critical step in reducing discrimination.

"Federal laws are standing in the way of true equality for gay and lesbian couples across Australia who have to contend with partial social acceptance and limited legal protection," Commission chief executive Helen Szoke said.

She said couples on the register would receive a certificate which proved their relationship in dealings with government, courts and agencies.