Last updated 11 April 2017

The Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) (Marriage Act) formally defines ‘marriage’ as ‘… the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life …’ (s 5 Marriage Act).

While the right of same-sex couples to marry and have their foreign marriages recognised is still an issue subject of ongoing political debate, the Civil Partnerships Act 2011 (Qld) (Civil Partnerships Act) provides for two adults, regardless of their sex, to enter into a civil partnertship, which is a legally recognised relationship (s 4 Civil Partnerships Act). To be eligible to enter into a civil partnership, a person must:

  • be 18 years or older
  • not be married or already in a civil partnership
  • live in Queensland
  • not have any of the following relationships with the person’s proposed civil partner (s 5 Civil Partnerships Act):
    • lineal ancestor
    • lineal descendant
    • sister
    • half-sister
    • brother
    • half-brother.

When two people wish to enter into a civil partnership, they may apply to have their relationship registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages in Queensland. The application must be in the approved form and accompanied by a statutory declaration made by each person stating that the person wishes to enter into a civil partnership with the other person, that the person is not married or already in a civil partnership and that the person believes that they do not have a prohibited relationship with their proposed civil partner. Documents to prove the two persons’ identity and age must also be provided.

The civil partnership will take effect as soon as it is formally registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages.

A civil partnership is terminated by the death or marriage of one of the parties or after one of the parties registers a termination application at the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (ss 14, 19 Civil Partnerships Act).

The Queensland Government provides comprehensive information on how to register a civil partnership with or without a declaration ceremony and how to obtain an optional certificate.