Last updated 1 August 2018

Marriage solemnised in Australia

A total of 12.7 million (79.5%) of eligible Australians expressed their views with respect to the same-sex marriage proposal, with the majority of 61.6% indicating that the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 (Cth) commenced on 9 December 2017. The Act amended the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) (Marriage Act) to redefine marriage as the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life (s 5 Marriage Act). The legal conditions for marriage are now the same throughout Australia. For example a couple must wait a one-month period to marry after giving an authorised celebrant a completed Notice of Intended Marriage form (s 42(1)(a) Marriage Act).

Marriage solemnised in a foreign country

From 9 December 2017, the Marriage Act recognises any existing and any future same-sex marriages solemnised outside of Australia under the law of a foreign country. The amendments to the Marriage Act also acknowledge any same-sex marriage solemnised by a diplomatic or consular officer under the law of a foreign country before 9 December 2017 (pt 5A Marriage Act).

A couple whose foreign same-sex marriage that became recognised from 9 December 2017 cannot marry each other again in Australia.