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Australian Greens to push for recognition of overseas gay marriages

Senator Sarah-Hanson Young says she will introduce bill to recognize overseas same-sex marriages in Australia when parliament reopens on 14 May
Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said this morning that she will introduce a bill that will allow international same-sex marriages to be legally recognized in Australia.

Hanson-Young made the announcement following Prime Minister Julia Gillard's reiteration of her opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia, despite nearest neighbor New Zealand passing legislation yesterday.

'Australian same-sex couples are now lining up to get married in New Zealand and the sad thing is they are not going to be recognized here,' said Hanson-Young, Adelaide Now reports.

'They shouldn’t have to leave their marriage at the customs gate. Let’s recognize overseas marriage here in Australia.'

Campaign group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) said they are fully behind Hanson-Young's initiative.

'If federal parliament can't yet allow same-sex marriages in Australia, the least it can is recognize the solemn vows Australians have made overseas,' said AME national director Rodney Croome.

Currently same-sex couples who are married overseas do not get any legal recognition in Australia and the same will apply to gay couples who marry in New Zealand.

AME say 1,000 Australian gay couples responded to a survey on their website saying they will go to New Zealand to marry.

'Today is a day of great joy for New Zealanders, and of hope and inspiration for supporters of marriage equality in Australia,' added Croome,

'New Zealand's leaders have put politics aside and united behind this reform and we call on Australia's political leaders to do the same. In particular, we call on Tony Abbott to follow the lead of New Zealand's conservative prime minister, John Key, and allow a conscience vote for the Coalition.'

Abbott confirmed today that he is still against legalizing same-sex marriage.

'My own position on that particular question is pretty well-known,' said Abbott this morning. 'It's the same position as Julia Gillard's, John Howard's and Kevin Rudd's.'  

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