Although same-sex couples can’t marry in Australia, at least now those with the means can go abroad to get married in a country that does allow it. Australia is about to allow same-sex couples to obtain “Certificates of No Impediment,” which essentially certify that a person is not already married. Such certificates, or CNIs, must be brandished in certain countries that allow marriage equality, such as South Africa, and until this law was changed, Australia actually refused to grant them to LGBT people. That meant same-sex Australians couldn’t even get married abroad.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says while it does not mean a same-sex marriage is recognised in Australia, it does remove a discriminatory hurdle.
“Same-sex couples have been very insulted that they can’t get from their government a certificate which says they’re not married to anyone else,” she said.
“We are not by this step, recognising in any official way the marriage. What we’re doing is providing a certificate in the same way we do for heterosexual couples to say that there’s no legal reason that provides another impediment to people being married.
“It’s a pretty basic thing and that prevents them from benefiting from the laws of another country. So it’s a removal of discrimination rather than the next step, which our Australian Parliament hasn’t yet dealt with.”