South Australia Greens Senator and spokeswoman on same-sex marriage, Sarah Hanson-Young, who will move the Overseas Marriages Recognition Bill, said she intends to have the legislation on the Senate floor before the end of June.
“Not recognising marriages that occur overseas creates a logistical and bureaucratic nightmare – it means couples who are legally married have to check their marriage in at Customs,” Hanson-Young said.
Hanson-Young urged the Labor Party to support the bill “en bloc”, claiming it enjoys “strong support across all sides” of politics because it’s not a matter of conscience.
“We should respect the laws of our closest allies like New Zealand, France, parts of the United States and now the United Kingdom, and at least recognise that their laws hold some weight in Australia.”
Former Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Kerryn Phelps, who married her partner Jackie Stricker-Phelps in New York in 2011, said she and her partner had long been “frustrated and infuriated” at not having their marriage recognised in Australia.
“The worst part is that this is something so easily fixed – other countries have been addressing this for at least a decade,” said Phelps. “Australians are not getting a fair go at the moment.”
In February last year the government overturned its long-standing policy of denying Certificates of No Impediment to LGBTI people, allowing same-sex couples to marry overseas in countries that permit same-sex marriage. However, such marriages are not recognised once the couple returns to Australia due to amendments to the Marriage Act in 2004.
The announcement came on the same day Greens Melbourne MP Adam Bandt was set to introduce a bill legalising same-sex marriage to the floor of the House of Representatives. The bill, which had long been slated for a June 6 vote, was delayed by the Parliamentary Selection Committee the night before, making it now unlikely that the bill will be voted on before the federal election in September.