Australia’s Same-Sex Unions Legalised

New laws in Australia have granted legal recognition to the union of same-sex couples. The country now joins a host of countries around the world which allow the benefits of relationships once the preserve of heterosexual couples.

“Same sex unions could open up doors for those seeking to relocate to Australia”

According to 1st Contact, the recognition of same sex unions could open up doors for those seeking to relocate to Australia. This could result in the possibility of same sex couples being eligible to apply for prospective Australian spousal visas. Robyn Cory, 1st Contact’s Visa manager says “although we have not had confirmation from the DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) of this change, we remain confident that the criteria governed by marriage laws are the same criteria needed to motivate sufficiently for the approval of an Australian Spousal Visa”.

Warren McGaw and Chris Rumble have become amongst the first to publicly declare their commitment in a legally-recognised union saying they believed the majority of Australians supported them.

Various reports in the media state that some are concerned that the legality of the unions could be overturned which may result in a sudden rush of civil union registrations across Australia. The national government is currently seeking legal advice on whether to quash the laws passed earlier this month.

“We’ll be really disappointed and devastated if (the legislation) does get overturned, said McGaw. We took the opportunity today to have the legal ceremony as the law stands. “We couldn’t be happier, couldn’t be more delighted.”

Although Australia’s ruling party voted in August to uphold the country’s gay marriage ban, the government has also passed legislation to remove same-sex discrimination from almost 100 national laws, notably in areas around such as tax issues and employment.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been a steadfast opponent of gay marriage rights and recently stated that his government may veto for a third time those laws which recognise civil partnership ceremonies.

The Civil society organisation, Australian Marriage Equality are campaigning for Australia to recognise the marriages of same-sex couples legally entered into overseas in such countries as Canada, Spain and South Africa.

The coming days are likely to be decisive in determining whether or not same-sex couple equality unions of men and women become the new status quo in Australia.  The immediate effect is for same sex couples to take advantage of the current laws as it has been speculated that should the laws be overturned, all unions formalised under the current law would be upheld.

From an immigration perspective, Robyn Cory adds that “this presents an excellent opportunity for our clients who have previously been disadvantaged, together with our future clients to harness the immigration possibilities that this most recent development in Australian marriage law presents”.

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