While gay activists hold their breath over moves in the ACT to include ceremonial aspects in its civil union scheme, Tasmanian couples will soon be able to register their relationship during a ceremony.

The Tasmanian Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages today confirmed a changed in procedure in the State’s Deed of Relationships scheme will allow same-sex couples – along with opposite sex couples – an option to legally sign a relationship certificate during a ceremony.

From November 1, couples entering into a Deed of Relationship will be able to sign the ‘marriage-like’ certificate during a ceremony in the presence of a celebrant.

The registry office will provide new “decorative” certificates specifically for the occasion and back-date the official date to the ceremony day.

Previously couples had to go into the registry office or send in the paper work to be registered.
The change does not enhance the powers of civil celebrants to declare a legal relationship for same-sex couples during a ceremony, and certificates must be lodged with the registry.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said he welcomed the change.
“This provides same-sex and other couples with a way to have that ‘special day,’ on which they officially declare and affirm their relationship in front of friends and family members,” he said.

A registry spokeswoman told Sydney Star Observer demand from couples wanting certificates to mark their relationship on the ceremony day had pushed the change.

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