January 27, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Gay marriage is most likely still a ways off in Australia (even though the ruling Labor party amended its platform in support of marriage equality in December), but a new government policy will make life a little bit easier for LGBT couples in the country. In many countries which allow marriage equality, including Portugal, Spain, Norway and South Africa, applicants for a marriage license are required to produce a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) which states that both individuals are over 18 and unmarried. In the past, the Australian government has refused to grant CNIs to same-sex couples, effectively prohibiting them from being married abroad.
Yesterday, Australia’s attorney-general, Nicola Roxon, announced that same-sex couples will be able to apply for CNIs starting February 1. The marriages these couples enter into abroad still won’t be recognized by the Australian government.
A small victory, indeed, but an important one for Australia’s LGBT citizens on the road to full marriage equality.