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Australian census registers nearly 34,000 same-sex couples

1,334 of same-sex couples describe themselves as married
National convenor of Australia Marriage Equality Alex Greenwich, who married his boyfriend in Argentina earlier this year

The Australian Census 2011 published today has 33,714 same-sex couples registered, and 1,334 of them described themselves as married - the first time that they were able to do so on a census.

The information from the latest five-yearly census shows that there are more male than female same-sex couples (17,583 to 16,131).

Sydney’s state, New South Wales, has the highest percentage of same-sex couples with 0.85% of the overall number of couples. This figure is 0.75% in Victoria, 0.63% in Queensland and 0.53% in Western Australia.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich, said the 1,334 same-sex couples had married overseas, like he did earlier this year.

Greenwich said it showed ‘how deeply they value marriage’ and that he understands ‘how painful it is that my solemn vow of lifelong commitment counts for more in a foreign country than it does in the country of which I am a citizen.

‘Family and friends may not be able to attend their loved one's wedding for financial or health reasons,’ said Greenwich. ‘And when the couple returns their new relationship with their loved one's spouse is not recognised by the government.

‘The prevalence of same-sex couples travelling overseas also highlights the cost of discrimination to the Australian economy, particularly the small businesses associated with the wedding industry.’

At the end of January this year the Attorney-General announced that the government had removed a ban which stopped same-sex partners from obtaining the paper work required to marry in some overseas countries.

The Australian parliament is expected to debate and vote on the first of two same-sex marriage bills in August.

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