South Australian same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised from today
Australian same-sex couples will be able to have their relationships legally recognised, starting today.
The country has still not made same-sex marriage legal, but the state of South Australia has taken the step to create a relationships register.
This will allow same-sex couples – as well as other pairs who are unmarried or not Australian – to receive a certificate of registration, according to the Star Observer.
The state has taken the step after the death of British citizen David Bulmer-Rizzi in the state last year during his honeymoon with husband Marco Bulmer-Rizzi.
South Australia failed to legally recognise their marriage.
This meant that Marco was told he would not be acknowledged as next of kin, the death certificate would read “never married” and funeral arrangements would be made by David’s father.
The British government quickly changed its policy so that same-sex couples are shown on each other’s death certificates if one of them dies in Australia.
And 18 months later, South Australia has finally passed the same kind of legislation.
This will make it easier for couples to be treated as equal, even if they are not heterosexual.
Premier Jay Weatherill said: “From today, loving couples in South Australia can begin the process to register their relationships.
“The relationships register allows couples, regardless of their sex, [gender] or intersex status, to register their relationship and have their status as a couple formally and legally recognised.”
He continued: “It will mean people will have a clear avenue to have their relationship legally recognised, but also will make the process of accessing their entitlements and asserting their rights, including in situations of a medical nature, far simpler.”
Assistant Minister to the Premier Katrine Hildyard said: “This register is a huge step forward for equality.
“It means that all loving couples can have their relationship registered and it means that other couples will not experience what Marco Bulmer-Rizzi went through on the tragic death of his husband.
“I am proud of our ongoing commitment to ensure [LGBTI] members of our community are fairly and equally treated under our law, and I am proud that our government has responded to the courageous campaigning for equality by [LGBTI] people over many years.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is facing growing threats of a rebellion from “quite a number” of his own MPs over his stalling on equal marriage.
The country’s right-wing leader has been under growing pressure to pass an equal marriage law, due to overwhelming public support.
Turnbull refuses to permit a vote in Parliament on the issue, due to strong opposition from key members of his government, who insist the issue can only be settled by a nationwide ballot.
However, as the public runs out of patience, pro-gay factions within Turnbull’s coalition have threatened to rebel and back a free vote in Parliament – after an MP for the governing Liberal Party, Dean Smith, submitted a private member’s bill on the issue.
The issue could come to a head next week, when Turnbull’s coalition is expected to meet to agree a stance on Smith’s bill.