Same-sex couple tie the knot in Australia using marriage equality loophole
A couple has married in Australia using a diplomatic ‘loophole’ that allows same-sex marriages to dual British-Australian citizens.
Bill and John have been together since 1982 when ‘homosexual relations’ were illegal in several Australian states.
Much has changed in the 35 years since with a blatant exception of equal marriage in the country, which still remains prohibited.
John, 69, is a dual British-Australian citizen, having emigrated from the UK in the 1970s.
Most Australian states recognise overseas same-sex marriages despite not currently licencing the marriages themselves.
British citizens have the legal right to marry their partner of any gender in countries where same-sex marriage is not law, with some restrictions.
This ‘loophole’ has resulted in over 445 same-sex couples getting married in Australia since June 2014.
These marriages can only take place in diplomatic offices and embassies.
Using this ‘loophole’ the couple were married last week at Sydney’s British consulate.
A spokesperson for the Australian consulate has said that the service has been incredibly popular, with same-sex marriages booked “at least until the end of this year.”
John told the Sydney Morning Herald that he and Bill would have married far sooner if it were possible, but decided to marry this year to mark their 35th anniversary and their retirement.
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John said: “We thought getting married this year would be the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, the government hasn’t moved with the times.”
Australia is currently in the final days of a postal vote on the future of same-sex marriage in the country.
As of writing the turn out in the postal vote is 72.2 percent, with just over a week to go.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics, the agency responsible for the postal vote, revealed this week that razor blades had been found in some returned ballots.
The city of Sydney has promised to offer free weddings to same-sex couples for 100 days if equal marriage becomes law.
Labor councillor Linda Scott has supported the idea, saying: “this community has suffered significant discrimination and many have felt hurt during the campaign”.
Results of the postal vote are expected on 15 November.