From February, gay Australians will be able to receive certificates allowing them to enter into gay marriages abroad.

The permits, known as Certificates of No Impediment, are required by some countries before a couple can marry.

For gay couples marrying abroad, Australia had previously refused to provide the permit, but a change in policy was announced late last year.

The move is implemented by new Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, who took office on 14 December last year.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich, said: “The real problem remains the failure of parliament to allow same-sex marriages in Australia, but the removal of the CNI ban will ease the burden on same-sex couples who are forced overseas to marry.

“It’s already painful enough for same-sex partners to have to marry overseas, away from family and friends, without the Australian Government putting up additional bureaucratic barriers.”

“We welcome the commitment of Ms Roxon to removing this mean-spirited policy as quickly as possible.”

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said: “This important change will allow same-sex couples to take part in overseas marriage ceremonies, and be considered married according to the laws of that country.

“This change means the certificates, which were previously only available to heterosexual couples, will now also be available to same-sex couples.

“Yet again, this change demonstrates Labor’s strong commitment to removing discrimination in Commonwealth laws and policies.

“In 2009, we removed discrimination from 85 different laws that now provide equal treatment for same-sex couples in areas like taxation, social security, health, aged care, superannuation and more.”

Australian Marriage Equality said that among the countries who needed couples to produce the certificate, the Netherlands and New York state waived the requirement when they became aware of the now-defunct Australian policy.