Marriage equality advocates say a Senate report released today is one-sided and a slap in the face to same-sex couples married overseas.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has released its report into a bill from SA Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, which seeks to recognise the marriages of hundreds of Australian same-sex couples who have legally wed in places like the US, UK and New Zealand
The Committee, which is made up mostly of Coalition Senators and Labor Senators opposed to marriage equality, recommended the bill not be passed. Despite declaring its report was not about marriage equality as such, the Committee dwelt on issues such as religious freedoms and the so-called “slippery slope” while completely ignoring the personal stories of Australian same-sex couples married under foreign laws.
Australian Marriage equality national director, Rodney Croome said,
“The Senate report is a slap in the face to the hundreds of loving, committed Australian couples who have married overseas.”
“This one-sided report highlights why it is important for Coalition members to be allowed a free vote on marriage equality and are no longer tied to automatically opposing it.”
“We welcome dissenting reports from Labor Senator Carol Brown and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young who focussed on the key issues at stake rather than distractions.”
Sydney resident, Shirleene Robinson, who will marry her fiance, Sarah Midgley in the Sydney UK consulate tomorrow, said,
“It is deeply disappointing that Australians can expect greater respect and recognition from foreign governments than from our own.”
“We would love to have our solemn vows recognised under Australian law, but we are determined not to let this Senate report ruin our special day.”
At the 2011 Census over 1300 same-sex couples said they were married overseas. Since then about 240 Australian same-sex couples have married in New Zealand, while many more plan to marry in UK consulates in Australia.
The moment these couples walk back on to Australian soil they are no longer considered legally married and their solemn vows of lifelong commitment count for nothing.
“I don’t understand how anyone who says they respect the institution of marriage can turn around and support the invalidation of existing legal marriages”, Mr Croome said.
Media representatives are welcome to attend Shirleene and Sarah’s wedding in Sydney tomorrow.
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Shirleene Robinson on 0412 308 174.