On 15 November 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. A total of 12.7 million (79.5%) of eligible Australians expressed their view, with the majority (61.6%) indicating that the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. All states and territories recorded a majority ‘Yes’ response.
Same sex couples whose marriages are recognised can access Australia’s family law system (including divorce), regardless of when the marriage was solemnised. The divorces of same sex couples who divorced overseas before 9 December 2017 are also recognised in Australia.
Same sex couples who divorce overseas on or after 9 December 2017 will have their divorce recognised in Australia in the same circumstances as any other married couple.
This all happened because of you. Because of millions of Australians who reached out to our own families, neighbourhoods, organisations – to stand up for equality, stand by our loved ones and share why equality was so important. Thank you.
The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 shows the text of the law as amended and in force on 25 October 2018 (the compilation date).
It is an object of this Act to create a legal framework:
(a) to allow civil celebrants to solemnise marriage, understood as the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life; and
(b) to allow ministers of religion to solemnise marriage, respecting the doctrines, tenets and beliefs of their religion, the views of their religious community or their own religious beliefs; and
(c) to allow equal access to marriage while protecting religious freedom in relation to marriage.
(1) A religious marriage celebrant may refuse to solemnise a marriage despite anything in this Part, if the celebrant’s religious beliefs do not allow the celebrant to solemnise the marriage.
Grounds for refusal not limited by this section
(2) This section does not limit the grounds on which a religious marriage celebrant may refuse to solemnise a marriage.
Section 47B states that bodies established for religious purposes may refuse to make facilities available or provide goods or services;
(1) A body established for religious purposes may refuse to make a facility available, or to provide goods or services, for the purposes of the solemnisation of a marriage, or for purposes reasonably incidental to the solemnisation of a marriage, if the refusal:
(a) conforms to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of the religion of the body; or
(b) is necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion.
(2) Subsection (1) applies to facilities made available, and goods and services provided, whether for payment or not.
(3) This section does not limit the grounds on which a body established for religious purposes may refuse to make a facility available, or to provide goods or services, for the purposes of the solemnisation of a marriage, or for purposes reasonably incidental to the solemnisation of a marriage.
(4) To avoid doubt, a reference to a body established for religious purposes has the same meaning in this section as it has in section 37 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (1), a purpose is reasonably incidental to the solemnisation of marriage if it is intrinsic to, or directly associated with, the solemnisation of the marriage.
Section 2CA is in references to spouses and explains a Spouse is defined for the purposes of an Act to include a de facto partner and a former spouse. Because of this section, a reference in the Act to a person’s spouse covers any person who is legally married to the person, in addition to any person covered by the definition in the Act.
(1) For the purposes of any Act, a person is the spouse of another person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) if the person is legally married to the other person.
(2) Subsection (1) has effect in addition to any provision of an Act that affects the meaning of spouse in a provision of that Act.
39DD Transitional provisions for existing marriage celebrants
Marriage celebrants who are ministers of religion, but not ministers of religion of a recognised denomination
(1) The Registrar of Marriage Celebrants must identify a person as a religious marriage celebrant on the register of marriage celebrants if:
(a) the person was registered as a marriage celebrant under Subdivision C of this Division immediately before Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 commenced; and
(b) the person is a minister of religion.
Marriage celebrants who wish to be religious marriage celebrants on the basis of their religious beliefs
Read full act here: //www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018C00423