Image for Same-sex marriages are now protected in NSW law

Same-sex marriages are nowprotected in NSW law

From today, NSW same-sex couples married overseas can have their marital status recognised by the NSW Relationships Register.

Long-time marriage equality advocate and Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich won government support for his Relationships Register Amendment (Recognition of Same-sex and Gender-Diverse Relationships) Bill 2014, which ensures same sex couples who marry overseas will be able to reflect their marital status on relevant forms and will no longer have to declare that they are not married.

“This change acknowledges that a growing number of NSW citizens must travel overseas to marry the person they love, while waiting for the Federal Government to legislate for marriage equality,” he explains.

New South Wales follows Queensland and Tasmania, who have similar recognition of overseas same-sex marriages.

The New South Wales Registry of Births, Death and Marriages website has been updated today to clarify that same sex couples who marry overseas are eligible to register their relationship.

Photo: Frank Farrugia @ Same Love photography

“The NSW Relationship Register will now ensure same-sex marriages conducted overseas will receive a level of protection and recognition in NSW, and I thank the Attorney-General for working with me towards this outcome,” adds Greenwich.

“The inaction of federal governments, past and present, on marriage equality remains an embarrassing blight on our nation’s reputation for fairness, freedom and equality.”

The updated Births, Deaths, and Marriages Relationships Register eligibility criteria is shown here and the registering a relationship application form is here.

Keep in touch with the latest from the local movement towards marriage equality here on the Australian Marriage Equality campaign website.

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Phillip said on the 13th Nov, 2014

you are wrong - the site is not updated!!
Australian citizens marrying overseas cannot have their marriage registered in NSW.
For evidence of your overseas marriage, obtain a Marriage Certificate or any other supporting documentation before you leave the country.


benif82 said on the 13th Nov, 2014

I get what your trying to say Phillip, however I'm not sure what you mean with your closing sentence. As someone who married overseas, I fail to see how someone can get marriage and not have evidence or a certificate to bring home! That 'evidence' as you call it is really what legally recognised marriage is all about. Otherwise it's just a ceremony (something we could always do, regardless of what the conservatives say).

To not bring home the evidence is as dense as buying a house and not asking for the property deed!


benif82 said on the 13th Nov, 2014

Just to confirm, the NSW Gov site tells me I can register my same sex marriage as a 'relationship' here in NSW, however I have to first declare I am not currently married to anyone (as Australia law sees it)

So I can register my marriage as a relationship, even though anyone who isn't married can also do the same thing. I think these headlines are a bit over the top, as SS marriage it seems is still not recognised in NSW. Those that have married overseas are simply 'encouraged' to register their relationship, even though they always could. No new freedoms people, just some some smoke and mirrors.


athempel said on the 13th Nov, 2014

Please forgive me for cantankerously failing to accept this as any kind of significant progress.
In truth, this is just the unwrinkling of a minor technicality that prevented sex and gender diverse couples married in another country from registering their relationship in NSW (a process not unlike, and with all the gravity of registering your dog %u2013 I speak from experience).
The legislation as it stood prevented anyone who was already married from registering a relationship.
At face value, this seemed like a sensible restriction, to prevent people married to one person from registering a relationship with another.
It had the effect of preventing anyone married in a more civilised country who was legally prevented from marrying in Australia (due to their sexual or gender identity) from having their relationship formally recognised at all in Australian law (which is very advantageous in certain situations, such as application for permanent residency of an Australian citizen's partner).
This tinkering around the edges of the rights of sex and gender diverse people is not progress, and is absolutely not cause for celebration. It only serves to entrench our marginalisation.
Equality is not a collection of legal technicalities. Equality is an absence of legal, social, political and economic discrimination and impediments. Equality is a gay or trans or intersex kid being able to grow up in a world that doesn't ever make them feel any less valid than any of their peers.
That isn't realised by celebrating the removal of a legal wrinkle in a largely vanity law in a jurisdiction that is constitutionally unable to legislate on marriage as "progress".
If we are to celebrate every such step as "progress", then we create the illusion for everyone, and ourselves, that actual, substantial progress is being made.