From 1 February 2012, same-sex couples will be able to apply to the
Australian Government for a certificate that enables them to marry overseas.
When a couple wishes to marry overseas, they must usually apply to the
Australian Government for a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). The CNI confirms
to the government in the country where the couple plans to get married that the
Australian Government see no obstacle to the marriage.
Currently, the Australian Government refuses to issue CNIs to same-sex
couples wanting to get married overseas.
‘PIAC applauds Attorney-General
Nicola Roxon for changing this policy. It is an important milestone towards
achieving equality for same-sex couples,’ said Edward Santow, chief executive
of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).
‘There is no
question that this policy discriminates against same-sex couples, given that a
heterosexual couple is generally able to obtain a CNI as of right.’
have been raised about the legality of the current discriminatory policy, and
PIAC has been working with Australian Marriage Equality on this issue.’
with Australian Marriage Equality has highlighted that the current policy has very
damaging flow-on effects.
‘For example, some same-sex couples have been unable
to access entitlements offered by foreign governments in areas like health care
and immigration because the Australian Government has obstructed them from
getting married overseas,’ Mr Santow said.
to issue CNIs to same-sex couples wishing to marry in a foreign country,
Australia was forcing its own discriminatory approach onto other countries. The
Attorney-General’s decision is a step in the right direction.’
PIAC Media and Communications Officer, Dominic O’Grady: 0400 110 169; PIAC CEO,
Edward Santow: 0434 353096.
Related coverage: Gay marriage overseas now supported by Government, ABC Radio PM, 27 January 2012