Recognition of same-sex unions in Australia


Recognition of same-sex unions in Australia
Legal recognition of
same-sex relationships
Marriage

Argentina
Belgium
Canada
Iceland
Netherlands

Norway
Portugal
South Africa
Spain
Sweden

Performed in some jurisdictions

Mexico: Mexico City
United States: CT, DC, IA, MA, NH, NY, VT, Coquille, Suquamish

Recognized, not performed

Aruba (Netherlands only)
Curaçao (Netherlands only)
Israel
Mexico: all states (Mexico City only)
Sint Maarten (Netherlands only)
United States: CA (conditional), MD

Civil unions and
registered partnerships

Andorra
Austria
Brazil
Colombia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Finland
France
- New Caledonia
- Wallis and Futuna
Germany

Greenland
Hungary
Ireland
Isle of Man
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
New Zealand
Slovenia
Switzerland
United Kingdom
Uruguay

Performed in some jurisdictions

Australia: ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC
Mexico: COA
United States: CA, CO, DE, HI, IL, ME, NJ, NV, OR, RI, WA, WI

Unregistered cohabitation

Australia
Croatia

Israel

Recognized in some jurisdictions

United States: MD

See also

Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage legislation
Timeline of same-sex marriage
Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe
Marriage privatization
Civil union
Domestic partnership
Listings by country

LGBT portal
v · d · e

Same-sex marriages are currently not permitted under Australian federal law. In 2004 the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) was amended to expressly state that unions between same-sex couples entered into outside the country are not to be recognised as marriage in Australia.

In all states and territories, cohabiting same-sex couples are recognised as de facto couples, and have the same rights as cohabiting heterosexual couples under state law. Furthermore, same-sex couples have access to domestic partnership registries in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. Civil partnerships are performed in the Australian Capital Territory.

In 2004, amendments to the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act to allow tax free payment of superannuation benefits to be made to the surviving partner on an interdependent relationships that included same sex couples, or a relationship where one person was financially dependent on another person. Further initiatives were also tabled by the Howard Liberal government.[1]

The subsequent Labor Government continued some of this progress in November 2008, when the Australian Parliament passed laws that recognised same-sex couples in federal law, offering them the same rights as unmarried heterosexual couples in areas such as taxation, social security and health, aged care and employment.[2] This means that same-sex couples who can prove they are in a de facto relationship have most of the rights of married couples since 1 July 2009. Nevertheless, despite equality of rights, Australia does not have a national registered partnership or civil union scheme.

In August 2009, a same-sex marriage bill was introduced by a member of the Australian Greens who pleaded with the government to take into mind that the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage and thereby pass such legislation.[3] The bill was reviewed by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.[4] The largest protests for same-sex marriage in the nation's history took place in eight cities on 1 August, with an estimated 8,000 people attending.[5] The Committee reported not to vote the bill. On 25 February 2010, the Marriage Equality Bill 2009 did not pass in the Australian Senate by a vote of 45-5, with only the Greens voting in favour and many senators not in attendance.[6] However, the Greens have announced their intention to reintroduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage sometime after 21 August 2010 federal election.[7]

Contents

De-facto recognition

Prior to 2008, same-sex couples were only recognised by the federal government in very limited circumstances. For example, since the 1990s, same-sex foreign partners of Australian citizens have been able to receive residency permits in Australia known as "interdependency visas".

HREOC inquiry

Following a national inquiry into financial and work-related discrimination against same-sex relationships, on 21 June 2007, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) released its Same-Sex: Same Entitlements report. The Commission identified 58 Commonwealth law statutes and provisions that explicitly discriminate against same-gender couples by using the term 'member of the opposite sex'.[8][9]

The previous federal government, under Prime Minister John Howard, banned its departments from making submissions to the HREOC inquiry regarding financial discrimination experienced by same-sex couples.[10]

A total of 100 statutes and provisions that discriminate by using the term 'member of the opposite sex' were later identified, from Aged Care, Superannuation, Childcare, Medicare (including the PBS), Pensions, etc. "All the basics that opposite-gender couples are legally entitled to and take for granted" [11][citation needed].

2007 Election

The 2007 federal election provided a swing in power that became more conducive to recognising the LGBT community. Penny Wong (Labor) was the first lesbian to be made a minister. Both the Labor Government and the Liberal party support rights for same-sex couples (excluding marriage and IVF). Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Labor), Tanya Plibersek (Labor), Penny Wong (Labor), Belinda Neal (Labor), Warren Entsch (Liberal), Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal) and Brendon Nelson (Liberal) "fully support rights for same-sex couples, but not to the extent of same-sex marriage(s) and IVF" (a quote from Brendon Nelson).[12][13][14][15]

Within the first six months following the election, Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that his department had gone beyond the HREOC 58, identifying a total of 100 laws that discriminate against same-sex couples.[16] By April 2008, McClelland announced that legislation to remove these inequalities would be introduced when Parliament resumes in May for the winter sittings.[17]

The 2008 reforms

Since December 2008, cohabitating ("de facto") same-sex couples have access to the same federal rights that cohabitating opposite-sex couples have. In more than 100 areas of law, "de facto partner" is now defined to include both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. The rights extended to same-sex couples include, among others: joint social security and veterans' entitlements, employment entitlements, superannuation, workers' compensation, joint access to the Medicare Safety Net, hospital visitation, immigration, inheritance rights, and the ability to file a joint tax return and gain the same tax rebates as married couples.[18]

The reforms were chiefly adopted through two Acts of Parliament introduced by the Rudd Labor Government: the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Act 2008 which received assent on 4 December 2008 and the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Act 2008 which received assent on 9 December 2008.[19][20]

These "omnibus" pieces of legislation amended a wide variety of existing laws to include same-sex couples. They received support not only from the governing Australian Labor Party, but also from the opposition Liberal Party, the Australian Greens and independent members.

Australia does not outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation at the federal level. However, in response to Australia's obligation to implement the principle of non-discrimination in employment and occupation pursuant to the International Labour Organization Convention No. 111, the Australian Human Rights Commission Act empowers the HRC to investigate complaints of discrimination in employment and occupation on various grounds, including sexual preference, and to resolve such complaints by conciliation. It is important to note that such discrimination is not rendered unlawful under the Act.

State and Territory recognition

At state and territory levels, there is some form of recognition for same-sex couples, mainly through being considered in de facto relationships.

De facto couples in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria have access to a relationship registry, which enables them to easily prove their relationship and provides nearly all of the rights of marriage. In Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland there is no registration system: cohabitating couples must prove that their relationship exists through a number of criteria. Since 2007 in South Australia cohabitating same-sex couples can register their relationship through a Domestic Partnership Agreement document.

Same-sex de facto couples in all states and territories have the same rights as opposite-sex de facto couples. However, the inability of same-sex couples to have conclusive evidence of their relationships in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland can make it difficult for them to access rights accorded to them under the law. The following list discusses states and territories without registered partnerships for same-sex couples: However, section 118 of The Australian Constitution (The Full Faith and Credit Section) would, in fact, mean that persons registered under the laws of States and Territories with Civil Partnership or Civil Union laws would be able to enforce their rights in juristications without specific enactments.

Norfolk Island

In 2005 Norfolk Island created the De Facto Relationships Act 2005, providing for domestic partnerships beginning in 2006.[21] The legislation defines the criteria for a court to determine the eligibility of couples to be recognised as de facto couples, and requires an application to the Supreme Court. Circumstances of the relationship, which includes duration of the relationship, financial aspects, and shared responsibilities, are taken into account.

Northern Territory

In March 2004, the Northern Territory enacted the Law Reform (Gender, Sexuality and De Facto Relationships) Act 2003 to remove legislative discrimination against same sex couples in most areas of territory law. The Act removed distinctions based on a person's gender, sexuality or de facto relationship in approximately 50 Acts and Regulations. As in NSW and the ACT, reform has also included enabling the lesbian partner of a woman to be recognised as the parent of her partner's child across State law.[22]

Queensland

In December 2002, Queensland's Discrimination Law Amendment Act 2002 created a new, non-discriminatory definition of "de facto partner", affecting 42 pieces of legislation.[23] This gave same-sex couples the same rights as de facto couples in most instances. There was discussion within Queensland government in 2008 to submit a proposal for a state-based relationship registry, which was presented by the Deputy Premier on 24 October 2011 and is presently being debated under a conscience vote.

Amendments to Queensland's Property Law Amendment Act recognise same-sex partners in regard to the distribution of property in the event of a separation. Queensland allows couples in same-sex relationships who are victims of relationship violence to take out domestic violence orders against a violent partner, and other protective measures, including counselling services. Queensland's Industrial Relations Act 1999 includes same-sex partners in the definition of spouse. This gives same-sex partners access to state-based parental, family, bereavement and carer's leave provisions.[24]

South Australia

Since 1 June 2007, 97 sections of legislation took effect which provide superannuation entitlements under four superannuation Acts, as well as rights concerning property ownership, inheritance, financial affairs, hospital access and other entitlements under South Australian law. The legislation does not include three areas of South Australian laws such as adoption and access to IVF and altrustic surrogacy.

This Family Relationships Act 1975 states that "Any two people who live together and present themselves as a couple will be covered by the legislation, regardless of whether or not their relationship is sexual". These Acts included 'domestic partner' in 97 separate Acts called the Statutes Amendment (Domestic Partners) Act 2006 (No 43)[25] and the Statutes Amendment (Equal Superannuation Entitlements for Same Sex Couples) Act 2003 (No 13).[26][27][28][29][30][31]

The Statutes Amendment (Domestic Partners) Act 2006 (Number 43), which took effect 1 June 2007, amended 97 Acts, dispensing with the term "de facto" and categorising couples as "domestic partners". This meant same-sex couples and any two people who live together are now covered by the same laws. Same-sex couples may make a written agreement called a Domestic Partnership Agreement about their living arrangements. This may be prepared at any time and is legal from the time it is made, but must meet other requirements, such as joint commitments, before being recognised as domestic partners.[32][33][34][35][36][37][38]

In 2009 the Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2009 to allow the referrals of a de facto partners property and superannuation to the Commonwealth as family law under the Family Law Act 1975 (just as all other states have done previously) got assented on 10.12.2009 - effective from 1.7.2010.[39][40]

Western Australia

The Acts Amendment (Lesbian and Gay Law Reform) Act 2002 removed all remaining legislative discrimination toward sexual orientation by adding the new definition of "de facto partner" into 62 Acts, provisions and statutes.[41]

Western Australia allows same-sex couples equal access to adoption procedures and in vitro fertilisation treatment. It also gives same-sex couples the same rights as opposite sex couples in areas such as transfer of property, medical treatment, and inheritance upon the death of a partner. A same-sex couple who utilise artificial insemination or 'in vitro' fertilisation treatment together (i.e. both parties present as a couple throughout the treatment) are able to have both names on the birth certificate once the child is born.[42]

Civil unions and registries

Status of same-sex unions in Australia.
  Same-sex marriages
  Same-sex civil unions
  Same-sex domestic partnership registries
  Same-sex domestic partnership agreements
  Same-sex domestic partnership being debated
  Defined state-wide as "De facto"
  State same-sex marriage ban

Civil union proposals

South Australia became the first state to consider allowing civil unions for same-sex couples when MP Mark Brindal proposed the Civil Unions Bill 2004 in October 2004. Brindal said, "Same sex attracted people make invaluable contributions to society, and society can no longer afford the hypocrisy to deny them the right to formalise their relationships."[43][44]

In 2006, the government of the ACT, led by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, legislated for same-sex civil unions within the ACT. The legislation was overturned by the federal government with Philip Ruddock saying Stanhope was deliberately baiting them. Ruddock received criticism from the Greens party, but claimed that the ACT's policy was not for civil unions but for marriage which was defined in the Marriage Amendment Act 2004.

In March 2006, independent Victorian MP Andrew Olexander proposed a private member's bill to allow civil partnerships in the state, but the state government would not allow it to be drafted by the parliamentary counsel.[45]

In Australia, civil celebrants conduct commitment ceremonies so that same-sex couples can participate in a ceremony to acknowledge their love and partnership. The federal government however has introduced a registration system whereby prospective celebrants must undergo Government-approved training and meet specific criteria set by the Attorney-General's Department to be declared a "fit and proper person" to hold the office of marriage celebrant. Under the new rules a registered celebrant is not permitted to conduct legally binding commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples, although they may conduct non-legally binding ceremonies as long as both the couple and those attending are under no illusion that the ceremony is a legal marriage.[46]

National relationships register

In December 2007, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that the Government would be working on a national relationship register, similar to the one in Tasmania, which would officially record an existing same-sex relationship. Since then, the policy expressed by federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has been to encourage all states and territories to create their own state-based relationship registers, based on Tasmania's model, while the federal government amends Commonwealth legislation to recognise these registered relationships. Neither Rudd nor the Labor Party endorsed the more controversial step of approving same-sex marriage or civil unions, however the party's state branches in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland have endorsed same-sex marriage.[47]

Australian Capital Territory

Since 1994 the ACT has had the Domestic Relationships Act 1994[48] becoming the first jurisdiction in Australia to "acknowledge same-gender couples legally". This provided for distribution of property and finances in the event of a separation, and inheritance in the event of death. On 16 August 2003, The ACT enacted laws relating to same-sex adoption.

9 years later 6 extra acts came into force that was passed by the Stanhope Government to get rid of all discrimination against gay men, lesbians, transgendered, their partners and even their children in every piece of ACT law and statutes.

The ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to pass legislation for civil unions with its Civil Unions Act 2006 which was enacted on 9 June 2006, but it was disallowed by the Governor-General on 13 June on the instruction of the Federal Executive Council. That December, the ACT government proceeded with new legislation recognising same-sex unions based on the United Kingdom civil partnership laws, but that was blocked as well.[49][50] In December 2007, a third attempt was made when the newly elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he would not override ACT legislation allowing for civil unions because it was a matter for states and territories.[51] However on 17 February 2008 Attorney General Robert McClelland said it was unacceptable that the ACT proposal would allow public ceremonies for same-sex couples to celebrate their unions.[52]

In May 2008, after several attempts to amend the Civil Partnerships Bill, ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced the Territory had again been forced to abandoned its civil partnerships legislation and would instead settle for a system of relationship registers virtually identical to the ones operating in Tasmania and Victoria.[53][54]

The Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill 2009 was presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly by the ACT Greens on 26 August 2009, allowing ceremonies to be conducted with civil partnerships, which was the contentious item removed from last years' legislation. Labor initially accused the Greens of playing politics by resurrecting the issue, but unanimously backed the bill as a matter of principle as it is ACT Labor Party policy to support civil unions. The Federal Labor government has agreed not to overturn the bill.[55] The first ceremony was held on 25 November 2009,[56] despite criticism from the Australian Christian Lobby.[57] Then again the ACT government made a plan with the Commonwealth government not to veto the civil partnership legislation if the ACT government made more amendments and changes to the legislation and then introduced the Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill 2009 (No 2) to address the Commonwealth Governments concerns.[58]

New South Wales

The State of New South Wales state-wide relationship registry has been legally provided since 1 July 2010. The City of Sydney established a Relationships Declaration Program in 2005 available for all couples offering limited legal recognition and is still active. While making a relationship declaration does not confer legal rights in the way marriage does, it may be used to demonstrate the existence of a de facto relationship within the meaning of the NSW Property (Relationships) Act 1984 and other legislation.[59][60][61] [62][63][64] The Law Reform Commission of New South Wales began an inquiry into Relationships and the Law several years earlier in September 1999.[65] The Commission's report, which was not released until 2006, recommended an optional state-wide registry for same-sex couples, which was rejected by the Government.[66]

On 4 June 2008, the New South Wales Parliament passed the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill 2008[67] which recognises co-mothers as legal parents of children born through donor insemination, provides birth certificates allowing two mothers to be recognised, creates amendments to 57 pieces of state legislation to ensure de facto couples, including same-sex couples, are treated equally with married couples, and creates amendments to the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act to ensure same-sex couples are protected from discrimination on the basis of their "marital or domestic status" in employment, accommodation and access to other goods and services.[66][68]

In February 2010, New South Wales Attorney General Hatzistergos announced that the state government will introduce legislation for a state-wide relationships register modelled on ones already in place in the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania. Entering into a "registered relationship" provides conclusive proof of the existence of the relationship, thereby gaining all of the rights afforded to de facto couples under state and federal law without having to prove any further factual evidence of the relationship. In this way, a registered relationship is similar to a registered partnership or civil union in other parts of the world.[69]

The Relationships Register Bill 2010 was introduced to the NSW Legislative Assembly on 23 April 2010. The bill was approved by the NSW Legislative Assembly on a 62–9 vote on 11 May 2010, and then by the NSW Legislative Council (upper house) on a 32–5 vote on 12 May. It was signed into law by the governor and entered into force on 1 July 2010.[70][71]

Tasmania

Beginning 1 January 2004, Tasmania's Relationships Act 2003 allowed same-sex couples to register their union as a type of domestic partnership in two distinct categories, Significant Relationships and Caring Relationships, with the state's Registry of Births, Death and Marriages. The new definition of partner or spouse, "two people in a relationship whether or not it's sexual", was embedded into 80 pieces of legislation, giving same-sex couples rights in making decisions about a partner's health, provides for guardianship when a partner is incapacitated, and gives same-sex couples equal access to a partner's public sector pensions. It also allows one member of a same-sex couple to adopt the biological child of their partner.[72][73]

In June 2008, Greens' Nick McKim released advice showing that there is no constitutional barrier to Tasmania introducing same-sex marriage laws, and said he intends to submit a bill to allow gay marriage in the state.[74]

In September 2010, the Tasmanian parliament unanimously passed the legislation to recognise same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions as registered partnerships under the Relationships Act 2003, making it the first Australian state or territory to do so.[75]

Victoria

In August 2001, the Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001 and the Statute Law Further Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001 amended 60 Acts in Victoria to give same-sex couples, called domestic partners, some rights equal to those enjoyed by de facto couples, including hospital access, medical decision making, superannuation, inheritance rights, property tax, landlord/tenancy rights, mental health treatment, and victims of crime procedures.[76][77][78]

In April 2007, the City of Melbourne established a Relationships Declaration Program (like Sydney's from 2005).[79][80][81] The following month, the City of Yarra launched its Relationship Declaration Program. Under the program two people may declare that they are partners and have this declaration recorded in the Yarra City Council Relationship Declaration Register.

Both local registries have since been superseded by the state's Domestic Partnership Register when it passed the which was launched in December 2008.[82] Both city registers remain active.

Same-sex marriage

The Marriage Amendment Bill 2004

On 27 May 2004 the then federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004,[83] intending to incorporate the common law definition of marriage into the Marriage Act 1961 and the Family Law Act.[84] In June 2004, the bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the amendment by 38 votes to 6 on 13 August 2004. The bill subsequently received royal assent, becoming the Marriage Amendment Act 2004.

The amendment specifies the following:

Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.[85]

Attorney-General Ruddock and other Liberals argued that the bill was necessary to protect the institution of marriage, by ensuring that the common law definition was put beyond legal challenge.[86]

The Labor shadow Attorney-General Nicola Roxon on the same day the amendment was proposed said that the Labor Opposition would not oppose the amendment, arguing that it did not affect the legal situation of same-sex relationships, merely putting into statute law what was already common law. The Family First senator supported the bill. The bill was also supported by the Nationals.

Despite having support of the major parties the bill was contested by sections of the community, human rights groups and some minor political parties. The Australian Greens opposed the bill, calling it the "Marriage Discrimination Act". The Australian Democrats also opposed the bill. Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett stated that the legislation devalues his marriage, and Greens Senator Bob Brown referred to John Howard and the legislation as "hateful".[87][88] Brown was asked to retract his statements, but refused. Bob Brown also quoted as Australia having a "straight Australia policy".

Not all of Labor was in support of the bill. During the bill's second reading, Anthony Albanese, Labor MP for Grayndler said, "what has caused offence is why the government has rushed in this legislation in what is possibly the last fortnight of parliamentary sittings. This bill is a result of 30 bigoted backbenchers who want to press buttons out there in the community."[89]

Same-Sex Marriages Bill 2006

In June 2006, Senator Stott Despoja introduced into Federal Parliament the Same-Sex Marriages Bill 2006, a private member's bill. The bill aimed to reverse the changes that were made in the Marriage Amendment Act 2004. It would have provided equal status, recognition, treatment and eliminated all legislative discrimination between same-sex and heterosexual couples. The bill has stalled indefinitely, but remains on the Parliament's current bills list.[90]

Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2008 (Tasmania)

Greens MP Nick McKim introduced the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2008 into Tasmania's House of Assembly in July 2008.[91] McKim introduced a similar bill to the House in April 2005.[92] Neither bill has progressed to a Second Reading.

Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009

In June 2009 Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 to legislate for marriage rights for same-sex couples. It would amend the Marriage Act 1961 to remove all discriminatory references based on sexuality and gender identity and allow marriage regardless of sex, sexuality and gender. The inquiry reported negatively by 26 November.[93] A "National Year of Action for Equal Marriage Rights" started a few days later, on 28 November by mass demonstrations. On 25 February 2010 the bill was rejected by the Senate. Previously in 2007, former Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, introduced a similar bill, the Marriage (Relationships Equality) Amendment Bill 2007.

Public opinion polls

In June 2004, a survey conducted by Newspoll showed that 38% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, with 44% opposed and 18% undecided.

In June 2007, a Galaxy Poll conducted for advocacy group GetUp! measured the opinions of 1,100 Australians aged 16 and over.[94]

  • 57% of respondents supported same-sex marriage with 37% opposed and 6% undecided. [94]
  • 71% of respondents supported same-sex couples having the same legal entitlements as opposite-sex de facto couples.[95]

In June 2009, a Galaxy Poll commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality measured the opinions of 1,100 Australians aged 16 and over. [96]

  • 60% of respondents supported the recognition of same-sex marriage, with 36% opposed and 4% undecided. Support was highest amongst those respondents who were intending to vote for the Australian Greens (82%) and who were aged 16-24 (74%). The majority of respondents from each state and each age bracket (except for the 50 and above category with 45% of respondents) were in support.[96]
  • 58% of respondents supported the recognition of foreign same-sex marriages in Australia, with 36% opposed and 5% undecided. Support was highest amongst those respondents who were intending to vote for the Australian Greens (74%) and who were aged 16-24 (73%). The majority of respondents from each state and each age bracket (except for the 50 and over category with 43% of respondents) were in support.[96]

In October 2010, a Galaxy Poll commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality measured the opinions of 1,050 Australians aged 18 and over. [97]

  • 62% of respondents supported the recognition of same-sex marriage, with 33% opposed and 5% undecided. Support was highest amongst respondents who were intending to vote for the Australian Greens (81%), and who were aged 18-24 (80%). The majority of respondents from each state and each age bracket (except for the 50 and over category with 46% of respondents) were in support. [97]
  • 78% of respondents supported a conscience vote on the recognition of same-sex marriage, with 16% opposed and 6% undecided. Support was highest amongst those respondents aged 18-24 (84%), and who lived in South Australia (83%). The majority of respondents from each state and each age bracket were in support. [97]

In March 2011, an Essential Media Poll demonstrated that support for same-sex marriage had fallen below 50% and opposition was up by 4%. [97]

In July 2011 a survey of 543 people conducted by Roy Morgan measured the support for a number of positions on marriage. [97]


  • 68% of Australians support same-sex marriage
  • 78% classify marriage as a ‘necessary’ institution, with only 22% opposing

Federal parliamentarians who publicly support gay marriage

House of Representatives

Member Party Electorate State/Territory
Anthony Albanese[98] Labor Grayndler NSW
Mark Butler[99] Labor Port Adelaide SA
Gai Brodtmann[100] Labor Canberra ACT
Michael Danby[101] Labor Melbourne Ports VIC
Laurie Ferguson[102] Labor Macarthur VIC
Peter Garrett[103] Labor Kingsford Smith NSW
Steve Gibbons[104] Labor Bendigo VIC
Sharon Grierson[105] Labor Newcastle NSW
Jill Hall[106] Labor Shortland NSW
Stephen Jones[107] Labor Throsby NSW
Andrew Leigh[108] Labor Fraser ACT
Kirsten Livermore[109] Labor Capricornia QLD
Julie Owens[110] Labor Parramatta NSW
Melissa Parke[111] Labor Fremantle WA
Graham Perrett[112] Labor Moreton QLD
Tanya Plibersek[113] Labor Sydney NSW
Bernie Ripoll[114] Labor Oxley QLD
Janelle Saffin[115] Labor Page NSW
Bill Shorten[116] Labor Maribyrnong VIC
Sid Sidebottom[117] Labor Braddon TAS
Warren Entsch[118] Liberal Leichhardt QLD
Teresa Gambaro[119] Liberal Brisbane QLD
Judi Moylan[120] Liberal Pearce WA
Mal Washer[121] Liberal Moore WA
Adam Bandt[122] Greens Melbourne VIC
Andrew Wilkie Independent Denison TAS

Senate

Member Party State/Territory
Mark Arbib[123] Labor NSW
Carol Brown[124] Labor TAS
Doug Cameron[125] Labor NSW
Trish Crossin[126] Labor NT
David Feeney[127] Labor VIC
Kate Lundy[128] Labor ACT
Gavin Marshall[129] Labor VIC
Anne McEwen[130] Labor SA
Claire Moore[131] Labor QLD
Louise Pratt[132] Labor WA
Lisa Singh[133] Labor TAS
Matt Thistlethwaite[134] Labor NSW
Anne Urquhart[135] Labor TAS
Penny Wong[136] Labor SA
Simon Birmingham[137] Liberal SA
Bob Brown[122] Greens TAS
Sarah Hanson-Young[122] Greens SA
Scott Ludlam[122] Greens WA
Christine Milne[122] Greens TAS
Rachel Siewert[122] Greens WA
Lee Rhiannon[122] Greens NSW
Richard Di Natale[122] Greens VIC
Larissa Waters[122] Greens QLD
Penny Wright[122] Greens SA

Recognition of married trans people

In October 2007, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned a decision by the foreign affairs department refusing to issue a transgender woman a passport listing her as female because she is married to a woman. The tribunal ordered that she be issued a passport listing her as female, in accordance with her other official documents, thereby recognising the existence of a marriage between two persons who are legally recognised as female.[138]

See also

References

  1. ^ Australian Parliament website
  2. ^ Sweeping gay law reform finally passes Archived 20 March 2009 at WebCite
  3. ^ Rees told listen and legalise gay marriage
  4. ^ Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009
  5. ^ 8000 Come Out For Gay Marriage
  6. ^ Senate votes down same-sex marriage bill
  7. ^ Senate rejects gay marriage bill, additional text.
  8. ^ HREOC Same-sex same entitlements Report
  9. ^ Human Rights and Equal Opportunity (HREOC Australia) report, Same-sex Entitlements Discussion Paper II (2006)
  10. ^ "How well does Australian democracy serve sexual and gender minorities?", Democratic audit of Australia, ANU School of Social Science report No. 9, 2007 p. 19 [1]
  11. ^ Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission: Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Report, 21 June 2007
  12. ^ "Latest News". http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22856750-601,00.html. 
  13. ^ Ruddy Good News - What The Election Results Mean For Us on SameSame.com.au
  14. ^ "Latest News". http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22856962-601,00.html. 
  15. ^ Karvelas, Patricia (12 October 2007). "Turnbull gets in ring for gay rights fight". The Australian. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22570725-2,00.html#. 
  16. ^ Feds find 100 laws to fix
  17. ^ Matching Rights for Gay Couples
  18. ^ Your Rights Checklist, Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
  19. ^ Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Act 2008
  20. ^ Same-Sex Relationshps (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Act 2008
  21. ^ Norfolk Island Homepage (see De Facto Relationships Act 2005)
  22. ^ LAW REFORM (GENDER, SEXUALITY AND DE FACTO RELATIONSHIPS) ACT 2003 Archived 21 December 2009 at WebCite
  23. ^ DISCRIMINATION LAW AMENDMENT ACT 2002
  24. ^ INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS BILL 1999-Government
  25. ^ South Australian Legislation
  26. ^ STATUTES AMENDMENT (EQUAL SUPERANNUATION ENTITLEMENTS FOR SAME SEX COUPLES) ACT 2003 (NO 13 OF 2003)
  27. ^ STATUTES AMENDMENT (DOMESTIC PARTNERS) ACT 2006 (NO 43 OF 2006)
  28. ^ Legal Services Commission of South Australia
  29. ^ South Australia gays get new rights - from Pink News - all the latest gay news from the gay community - Pink News Archived 21 December 2009 at WebCite
  30. ^ Gay News From 365Gay.com
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