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Same Sex marriages in Australia
Tim Manger - Commitment Celebrant

Same Sex Marriages in Australia

What are the Road Blocks?

The first and most obvious road block to couples of the same sex being legally married in Australia is the Marriage ACT 1961, with particular reference to Part I [Preliminary], Section 5 [Interpretation], which defines marriage as 'the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life'.

However, since the Marriage Act has remained relatively unchanged since 1961, there is a growing argument that it's definition of marriage may be draconian by 2011 global marriage law standards. Tim has a brief look at some of the prevailing arguments below.

The Community ViewThe Community's View

In what could be best described as the post secular age, modern western society is still feeling the after-shocks of many hundreds of years of denominational influence. As a result, there is an obvious impact on general views that adversely advocate same sex marriages, leading to confusion, misunderstanding, and a fear of change.

The Legal ViewThe Legal View

As mentioned previously, the marriage laws in Australia (according to the Marriage Act 1961) do not recognise the unity of same sex couples, however these laws are currently being challenged, particularly in the Northern Territory. The Netherlands legalised gay marriages in 2001, with many countries following suit, however the debate continues.

The Goverment's ViewThe Government's View

In 2004 the Australian federal government effectively banned same sex marriages, however, all government levels in Australia offer some type of "de-facto status recognition" or "common-law marriage". This mechanism effectively recognises both same sex and opposite sex couples, and more commonly referred to as 'unregistered co-habitation'.

At present, this mechanism is the only legal pathway in Australia, for gay and lesbian couples wishing to make a public commitment.

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Tim Manger - Commitment Celebrant
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