Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in UK consulates in Australia from 27 June. Marriage equality advocates have welcomed the news, saying it will allow couples to marry with their family around them, and will increase pressure on the Federal Government to allow a free vote on the issue.
Those Australian same-sex couples where one partner is British will now be able to marry in Australia with their family and friends, and not in another country,” said Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome.
“Same-sex marriages in British consulates will renew the marriage equality debate by highlighting just how far Australia has fallen behind other countries including our closest friends and allies.”
“In particular, it will increase pressure on Tony Abbott to allow the Coalition party room a free vote on the issue, in line with basic Liberal principles.”
“UK consulates in Sydney and Perth will now take bookings for same-sex couples to lodge notices of intention to marry, with other consulates to follow. Lodgement of notices can occur from 12 June. Actual marriages can take place from 27 June. Same-sex marriages that are performed under foreign laws are not recognised in Australia.
“We’ll see a lot of indignation at the fact that the solemn vows couples make in British consulates in Australia count for nothing the moment the couples step outside the consulate and back on to Australian soil”, Mr Croome said.
“It is timely that a Senate committee is currently looking at the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages in Australian law and I urge supporters of marriage equality to make their views known to the inquiry.”
Mr Croome said about 300 Australian same-sex couples have married in New Zealand since it became possible over a year ago and he expects a similar number of couples to marry in Australia’s UK consulates in the first year.
Meanwhile, the UK Government has published a list of those countries where it will allow same-sex couples to marry in its consulates because marriage equality is not available locally. The list includes Russia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Serbia and Vietnam. Australia stands out as the only developed, English-speaking country on the list.
For more information, visit: www.australianmarriageequality.org for details.