Family Law Library

The Current International Trend – Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages

Throughout the world, same-sex marriage is being legalized.  Eleven countries, including South Africa, Argentina, Belgium and Spain, now recognize same-sex marriages.  Nine states in the United States have legalized it.  Most recently, New Zealand legalized marriage between members of the same gender, a vote that was wrought with so much emotion the parliament literally erupted in song.  Some Parliament members in Australia are calling for marriages conducted in New Zealand to be recognized in Australia.

Australia is not quite there yet.  In 2009, the first bill for same-sex marriage was brought before the federal parliament in Australia.  That bill, and the one brought in February 2010, did not pass.  Most recently, in September 2012, two bills permitting same-sex marriage were defeated in both houses of the Parliament.  The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, supported the bills but allowed members of the ALP a conscience vote.

It’s not clear when, but same-sex marriage in Australia is headed toward legalization.  Public opinion is strongly in favor.  In a recent poll taken by the Essential Report, 54% of Australians said they thought same-sex marriage should be allowed, with only 33% saying that it should not be permitted.  Interestingly, 62% of women polled supported it while only 46% of men said same-sex marriage should be legal.  Once legal recognition comes, the laws applying to heterosexual marriages will also apply to same-sex marriages.  For better or for worse….