Results from the 2011 Australian Census have been released today, with data showing 1338 Australian same-sex couples (nearly 2,700 people) have travelled overseas to marry, while 32,377 (almost 65,000 Australians) are in de facto relationships and prevented from marrying, if they wish.
This is the first time the Australian Bureau of Statistics has recorded same-sex marriages in Census data.
“The fact that at least 1338 same-sex couples have gone to the great lengths to marry overseas shows how deeply they value marriage,” Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich said.
“As someone who recently married overseas I understand how painful it is that my solemn vow of lifelong commitment counts for more in a foreign country than it does in the country of which I am a citizen.”
Greenwich also cautioned that the Census figures significantly underestimated the number of same-sex couples who are in overseas marriages.
Among the other significant changes since the 2006 Census is the increase in people identifying as having ‘No Religion’.
Nearly 5 million people (22.3 percent of Australians) now have no religious affiliation, making it the second largest religious preference in the country, second only to Catholicism at just under 5.5 million (25.3 percent) – which dropped by more than 300,000 people since 2006.
The next three highest religions – Anglican, Uniting and Presbyterian – also saw losses in membership.
The Atheist Foundation of Australia launched an online campaign last year to encourage people whose faith had lapsed to make it official by marking ‘No Religion’ in the Census.
You can read all the Census 2011 data here.