July 09, 2011, by Melanie Nathan,
When New York state’s new equal marriage law takes effect on July 27th same-sex couples from other countries will be able to marry there if they provide a Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage (CNI) to show they are not already married in their home country.
But the Australian Government refuses to give such certificates to same-sex couples intending to marry overseas, a policy defended by Julia Gillard as recently as the 14th of June, 2011.
Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, called the policy petty and mean-spirited.
“The Gillard Government’s policy of not allowing same-sex marriages in Australia forces same-sex couples to go overseas if they want to marry, but when they apply to marry in another country Julia Gillard is there saying “no” as well”, Mr Greenwich said.
“This means some couples miss out on entitlements and protections they can only receive overseas if they are married in a country that would otherwise regcognze their commitment, and it causes endless hassles for couples who have planned their wedding only to find it can’t go ahead.”
In response to a question from Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie on June 14th Julia Gillard incorrectly stated that CNIs are issued to show if a marriage is recognized in Australia (details here), but the New York Marriage Registry clearly defines a CNI in the following way: “A Certificate of Non-Impediment is an official Certification that the City Clerk’s Office has no information that would be an “impediment” to your getting a Marriage License in the City of New York.”
In 2009, a tri-partisan Senate inquiry condemned the policy of not issuing CNIs to same-sex couples and called for it be scrapped on the following basis: “A decision by a sovereign nation to allow marriage between a couple of the same sex should be a matter for that nation, and not a matter against which Australia should throw up bureaucratic barriers.”
On Wednesday, openly-gay South Australian Labor State Upper House member, Ian Hunter, condemned the Gillard Government’s refusal to issue CNIs and revealed he and his partner have officially applied for a CNI to marry overseas. (Details here).
Yesterday in an interview with Sky News, Julia Gillard said she may not respect a motion at December’s National Labor Conference in favor of allowing same-sex marriages. (Details here)