The Labor Party has today decided to end the long-standing ban on allowing Australian same-sex partners to marry overseas where gay marriage is legal.
Until now the Australian Government refused to issue same-sex partners seeking to marry in other countries with the Certificates of Non-Impediment to Marriage (CNIs) they require to prove they are not already married in Australia.
The Certificates are issued as a matter of course to Australians intending to enter opposite-sex marriages overseas, and following today’s decision, will soon no longer only be issued to opposite-sex couples.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) has campaigned for the removal of the CNI ban for several years, lobbying consistently for its removal, securing a recommendation against the ban from a 2009 Senate inquiry, highlighting cases where the ban has impacted adversely on ordinary Australians, and threatening legal action if the ban was not removed.
The ban on issuing CNIs to same-sex couples made a real difference to many Australians who wanted to get married overseas, like Chris and Victor (pictured). As Victor is from Portugal, where same-sex marriage is legal, they hoped to enjoy their special day there, but were blocked by Australia’s outdated bureaucracy. Read their story here.
Australian Marriage Equality Campaign Director Rodney Croome welcomed Labor’s decision today.
“Many gay and lesbians Australians travel overseas to marry because they can’t marry here,” he points out, “but when they discover the Australian Government won’t give them the required paperwork, weddings plans have to be cancelled and the partners concerned continue to experience the legal and social disadvantages of not being able to marry.
“This reform will make a real difference to many couples forced overseas to marry.”
The CNI decision comes a day after the Labor Party National Conference adopted a new party policy supporting marriage equality but allowed Labor MPs a conscience vote on the issue.