From today British consulates around Australia are allowed to marry same-sex couples where at least one of the parties is a UK citizen.
What is believed to be the first such marriage in Australia took place today around 3pm at the British consulate near Sydney’s Circular Quay and involved a Scottish Australian couple.
Peter Fraser and Gordon Stevenson married wearing matching kilts in the Fraser clan tartan after 19 years together.
The couple were declared married by the British Consular General who said performing the marriage was one of the highlights of his posting to Australia.
Fraser’s voice nearly broke as declared, ‘I take Gordon to be my lawfully wedded husband.’
However the couple’s marriage will not be recognized in Australia despite having full legal weight in the United Kingdom.
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said it would be confusing to many people why the Australian Government would not recognize their marriage like those of opposite-sex couples performed under British law.
‘The majority of Australians who support marriage equality will be asking, if this can happen in a UK consulate then why not everywhere else in Australia?’ Croome said,
‘Today's ceremony is a reminder to Coalition MPs that the issue is not going away and the sky doesn't fall in when same-sex couples marry.’
A Senate committee is currently looking at a bill that would allow the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages in Australia and it will also examine the impact of marriage equality overseas.
Same-sex marriage was briefly declared legal in the Australian Capital Territory under territorial law in 2012 but that was quickly quashed by the High Court of Australia.
Marriage in Australia is defined at a national government level but there have been moves to create state and territory same-sex marriages while the Australian Government refuses to allow the reform.