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Some same sex marriages may be legal: small compensation for bigoted law.

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Senator Kerry Nettle Senator for New South Wales

Some same sex marriages may be legal: small compensation for bigoted law

1st March 2005

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has supported calls from a Sydney based group, Community Action Against Homophobia, for federal parliamentarians to commit to end the legal inequality for LBGTI Australians including abolishing the ban on same sex marriage. Senator Nettle's pursuit of the government over the legal implications of last year's amendment to the Marriage Act has yielded some hope for a small number of same sex couples where one partner has undergone gender reassignment surgery. In answer to a question from Senator Nettle, the Attorney General has confirmed that married couples which include a partner who has undergone gender reassignment surgery will still be regarded as married under the Act. "I hope this advice gives some solace to the small number of couples

in this situation," Senator Nettle said. "Thousands of same sex couples are still legally discriminated against as a result of the Marriage Act bill supported by Labor and the Coalition last year. "The Greens will be participating in the CAAH float in Mardi Gras on Saturday that will highlight the need for this bigoted law to be repealed." Question without Notice (Speech): Marriage: Gender Reassignment Senator COONAN (New South Wales-Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (3.11 p.m.) -On 12 August last year, during the committee stage of the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 -and I refer to page 26571 of Hansard-Senator Nettle asked, in relation to people who are currently married and subsequently undergo gender reassignment surgery, whether their relationship and marriage will still be recognised under the law. I said I would refer the question to the Attorney-General, and I have the answer today. The

Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question. It is not appropriate for the Attorney-General to give legal advice. However, he considers that the decision of the full Family Court in re Kevin establishes that the validity of a marriage is determined at the time it is solemnised and that the new definition in the Marriage Act 1961 does not mean that a marriage will be annulled or otherwise made invalid because one of the parties to it undergoes gender reassignment surgery


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