SAME-sex couples in Australian cities will be able to make use of recently-approved British laws to marry in British consulates from June 27.

Couples, in which one partner has British citizenship, will initially be able to marry in consulates in Sydney and Perth, and Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra will follow soon after.

As of today, Australian couples who want to marry can book ceremonies in Sydney and Perth.

Hundreds of couples are expected to take advantage of this, although the new marriages under British laws in the consulates will still not be legally recognised in Australia.

However, the marriages are expected to increase pressure on the Abbott Government to allow a conscience vote on marriage equality, and the question of recognition of overseas same-sex marriages in Australian law is currently part of a parliamentary inquiry.

In March, the Abbott Government indicated that it had no objection to British consulates in Australia being used to host same-sex weddings shortly after gay marriage was legalised in England and Wales. Scotland’s same-sex marriage laws will come into effect in the coming months.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said almost 300 Australian couples had married in New Zealand since its government passed marriage equality laws last year and similar numbers would use the British laws to marry in consulates in Australian cities.

In December, the High Court struck down Australia’s first same-sex marriage laws in the ACT, but in its ruling stated that the Federal Government had the constitutional powers to allow marriage equality.

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