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27 January 2012 - CNIs a welcome addition in the push for marriage equality

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW) is encouraged by Commonwealth Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon’s, announcement to lift the ban on granting same-sex couples who wish to marry overseas Certificates of No Impediment (CNIs).

Certificates of No Impediment are administrative documents that enable couples to marry overseas. These documents certify that there is no bar or “impediment” for couples seeking to have their unions solemnised in foreign countries.

Australian same-sex couples have been denied access to CNIs due to the Commonwealth Government’s opposition to marriage equality.

However, following the Attorney General’s announcement, from February 1 2012, same-sex couples will be able to access these certificates.

GLRL Co-Convenor, Justin Koonin, welcomed the policy change, stating that, “A key obstacle for same-sex couples wishing to solemnise their marriages overseas has been removed.”

Lainie Arnold, GLRL Co-Convenor, elaborated, “This will hopefully encourage complementary legislative changes to s88EA of the Marriage Act to allow foreign same-sex marriages to be recognised in Australia.”

Currently, Canada, Argentina, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and six US states are among the jurisdictions that confer the ability for same-sex couples to marry.

While this is a necessary step forward, marriage equality will only be realised once the gender specific definition of marriage is neutralised in the legislation here in Australia.

Ms Arnold stated that, “Individuals should be able to marry the partner of their choice, regardless of gender or jurisdiction.”