Australian couple who vowed to divorce if same-sex marriage is legalised unsure of future
An Australian married couple who claimed they would divorce if same-sex marriage was legalised will find out their marriage’s fate when results are announced tomorrow.
A “Yes” result is the likely outcome of the Australian same-sex marriage postal vote, the results of which will be announced on Wednesday morning.
In their 2015 statement to Canberra’s CityNews, Nick and Sarah Jensen said they would still “live together and call each other ‘husband and wife’ – in the ‘eyes of God’.”
According to Australian law, the couple must live separately for 12 months, and prove their marriage is “irreconcilably broken” before seeking a divorce.
This means that even if they do decide to divorce after the results of the vote, they may not be able to go through with their plan.
The couple’s announcement sparked a reaction which included just a little schadenfreude.
A Facebook event called “Celebrating Nick and Sarah Jensen’s divorce” was created soon after the couple’s announcement, gaining over 140,000 RSVPs in the first week.
The spouses, who have been married for a decade, have said that they will hold out until any new legislation regarding same-sex marriage is released.
“We just need to see the legislation and if it all goes that way,” Mr Jensen said.
He added: “Then we know what situation we’re in and what we’re going to do.”
Believing marriage to only be between a man and a woman, Nick Jensen wrote in Canberra CityNews that he refused to recognise or be a part of a government’s regulation of marriage if that included same-sex marriage.
Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia, Nick insisted that it was “not a form of protest”.
He explained: “10 years ago we made an agreement with the state about what marriage was, and that was that it is a fundamental order of creation and part of God’s intimate story for human history, man and woman for the sake of children”.
Nick added: “If the state goes down the line of changing this definition and changing the terms of that contract then that is something we can no longer partake in.”
His brother spoke out in opposition of his sibling’s views in an open letter on Facebook.
Soren Jensen wrote that even though he fully respected his brother’s right to express his beliefs, he should nonetheless reconsider his extreme views.
“I love and respect you brother. You speak from your truth and I speak from mine. And on this issue I believe you are wrong,” he wrote.
“The time is now. This country is finally having an open debate on this issue, all voices should be heard, and then the obvious decision should be made.
“It is time for Australia to join the rest of the world in embracing marriage equality. And my brother should too.”
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In his letter Soren described his brother as a “loving father and husband, in a beautiful supportive marriage, a man of deep religious beliefs and he lives by those truths.”
He also admitted that he was “disappointed by the belittling, name-calling and stunts from both sides,” and made clear his belief that his brother should be allowed the right to speak his views, but also his belief in the public’s “right to respond”.
The polls have predicted a major landslide vote in favour of a Yes on same-sex marriage.
Liberal senator Dean Smith said that a debate in Parliament on same-sex marriage will begin “within days” in the event of a Yes vote.