Australia: Equal marriage groups call for legal recognition of overseas same-sex marriages

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Following the first same-sex wedding to take place in France yesterday, Australian advocates of equal marriage are now calling for the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages.

Vincent Autin, a 40-year-old PR firm head, and his husband Bruno Boileau, a 29-year-old government worker, were married in Montpellier’s town hall on Wednesday afternoon. The City’s Mayor, officiating, called the ceremony an “historic moment”, and said the couple represented a “united France”.
Efforts to legalise equal marriage failed in the Australian Parliament last year.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome, said: “Given the reputation of Paris a the City of Love, we expect many Australian same-sex couples to travel to France to marry, but their solemn vows of lifelong commitment will count for nothing when they return to Australia.

“We call on both major parties to support a Bill currently before the Senate to recognise overseas same-sex marriages as marriages in Australian law.”

The last Australian Census showed that 1,300 couples were married overseas, and the number is expected to rise dramatically, as same-sex couples will marry in New Zealand in August, and once equal marriage is passed in England and Wales.

South Australian Greens’ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, has tabled a bill which would remove the part of the Marriage Act, which specifically bans the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages.

A poll released earlier this week revealed that 65% of Australians support equal marriage, and 79% say there should be a cross-party conscience vote on the issue.

According to a survey by an equal marriage advocacy group in April, over a thousand Australian gay and lesbian couples planned to travel to New Zealand in order to get married.