Australia: New South Wales legalises recognition of overseas same-sex marriages

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New South Wales has become the third Australian state to recognise same-sex couples who have been married abroad.

Following Queensland and Tasmania, the amendment means gay married couples will no longer have to declare that they are not married while living in the state.

Alex Greenwich, the independent member for Sydney, announced the changes today in a statement.

He said: “Under the changes, same sex couples who marry overseas will be able to reflect their marital status on relevant forms and will no longer have to declare that they are not married.

“This change acknowledges that a growing number of NSW citizens must travel overseas to marry the person they love, while waiting for the federal government to legislate for marriage equality.”

Last year, a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in New South Wales failed in a narrow vote of 19 to 21.

Greenwich added: “The inaction of federal governments, past and present, on marriage equality remains an embarrassing blight on our nation’s reputation for fairness, freedom and equality.

“Fortunately the NSW Relationship Register will now ensure these marriages receive a level of protection and recognition in NSW, and I thank the attorney-general for working with me towards this outcome.”

Ivan Hinton-Teoh, acting director of Australian Marriage Equality, welcomed the changes in a statement.

He said: “In the absence of federal reform, NSW now provides legal recognition for these overseas marriages and, in doing so, has highlighted the importance of this reform for all Australians.

“We call on the federal government to recognise the commitments that are made by Australians overseas. As we legally recognise foreign commercial contracts, it should go without saying that we should also recognise these enduring lifelong commitments.”

Last month, legislation to extinguish convictions for homosexual offences passed in the New South Wales parliament.