A BILL seeking to federally recognise same-sex marriages performed overseas was re-introduced in the Senate today.
Tabled by the Greens’ marriage equality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms, the Recognition of Foreign Marriages Bill was first introduced in 2014 by South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
The re-introduction of the bill follows last month’s incident where British man Marco Bulmer-Rizzi was not recognised as married to his husband David, who died suddenly during their honeymoon in South Australia.
“We currently have a situation where overseas same sex marriages are recognised in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, but not in other states,” he said.
“We have to remedy this complex web of relationship laws so married couples receive the acknowledgement they deserve.
“It is embarrassing that [South Australia], the first state in the nation to decriminalise homosexuality 40 years ago, is now lagging behind as one of the last states to remove this discrimination.”
Only Tasmania, NSW and Queensland recognise overseas same-sex marriages as state civil partnerships with Victoria soon to follow.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has also promised to amend laws in the state as soon as possible after the backlash he faced from the Bulmer-Rizzi incident.
South Australian Liberal Senator David Fawcett refuted the Greens’ proposed bill, arguing that Australia could be forced to recognise child marriages.
“If we start making changes against our sovereign law in the interests of one group then why not the other groups,” Fawcett said.
“If we’re going to be consistent… then we need to start recognising things like child marriage, which I think clearly Australians would reject.”
However, Simms said it would “end a cruel and Draconian feature of Australian law”.
“Imagine the trauma of losing your husband, your partner in life, and having that trauma compounded by being treated in such a cruel and degrading way,” he told the Senate.
“Had Marco Bulmer-Rizzi’s husband died just 400km east in NSW, a state that does recognise overseas same-sex marriage, then he would not have been put through this experience. The cruel reality of these laws have been exposed by this tragic incident.
“It is clear there is a need for national action.”