Legislation has been passed by the State Lower House in Tasmania which will allow same-sex couples in interstate or overseas unions to be automatically recognised under Tasmanian law without the need to re-register their status.
Tasmanian LGBT activists have welcomed the move. Couples in Tasmanian Deeds of Relationship (a form of civil partnership) are already recognised in other states of the Australian Commonwealth and in some overseas countries, and reciprocal recognition of couples will bring significant benefits to those travelling in, or relocating to, Tasmania.
Rodney Croome, spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group said: “Couples in Tasmanian Deeds of Relationship have benefited in a range of areas from being recognised in places like the UK and New Zealand, and couples coming to Tasmania will benefit in similar ways when their unions are recognised here.
“For example, if a same-sex couple in an interstate or overseas union is travelling in Tasmania and one partner is taken ill, the other can rest assure they will automatically be considered next-of-kin.
“A couple in an existing union relocating to Tasmania can also rest assured their relationship will be respected without the need for a long and costly re-registration process.”
An amendment banning the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages as Tasmanian Deeds of Relationship, as proposed by State Liberal Michael Ferguson, has been voted down. Had it been passed, only civil partnerships made overseas would have been recognised in Tasmania. Mr Croome labelled the now-defeated proposition “inconsistent”.
He added: “Overseas same-sex marriages are already recognised in Australia by Federal Government agencies like the Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Immigration, and by numerous large corporations from Telstra, through QANTAS to the Commonwealth Bank, so it extreme and inconsistent to say they should not be recognised as Deeds of Relationship in Tasmania.
“It would also be inconsistent and overly-harsh to recognise couples who made civil unions vows in Auckland or London, but then to tell same-sex couples married in, say, Vancouver or Madrid, that their solemn vows mean nothing in Tasmanian law.”