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Gay couples will be issued with documents previously only available to heterosexuals. Photo: Bruno Domingos
Policy change helps gay couples marry overseas

in AUSTRALIA, 29/01/2012

The Gillard government will help Australian same-sex couples marry in other countries where gay marriage is legal by issuing them with documents that are currently only available to heterosexual couples.

In several nations that allow gay marriage, including Portugal, Spain, Norway and South Africa, a person must produce a so-called Certificate of No Impediment, which proves that they are at least 18 years old, not already married and that there is no other barrier to the marriage. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon will today announce that from February 1, same-sex couples will be able to apply for the certificates.

''This important change will allow same-sex couples to take part in overseas marriage ceremonies, and be considered married according to the laws of that country,'' Ms Roxon said.

The announcement follows a change of Labor Party policy on the issue at its national conference in December.

Same-sex marriages conducted overseas are not recognised as marriages in Australia, but may be evidence of a de facto relationship for the purposes of federal and state laws.

Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich welcomed the news. ''The removal of this mean-spirited policy is an important victory for same-sex couples and supporters of marriage equality,'' he said.

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