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