Same-sex couples who wish to get married in Australia can currently do so follwoing British laws. According to reports, gay couples where one is a British citizen can now be allowed to marry on June 27 in British consulates located in Sydney and Perth. Other cities in Australia like Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra is scheduled to follow.
Hundreds of Australian same-sex couples are expected to get married as they begin to process and book their ceremonies either in Perth or Sydney. According to reports, the move is expected to put more pressure on the Abbott government to allow conscience vote on the issue of marriage equality reform.
In March, the Abbott government had said there was no problem with British consulates being used for same-sex marriage ceremonies since gay marriage was legalized in England and Wales. Using British laws for same-sex couples to wed in Australia was praised by marriage equality advocates as one step forward to reform Australia's marriage laws.
But gay couples who get married under British laws will not be recognized in Australia. Reports said the recognition of gay marriages held in other countries is still under deliberation in the Parliament. Rodney Croome, Australian Marriage Equality national director, said almost 300 same-sex couples from Australia went to New Zealand to get married since the Kiwi government approved the legalization of gay marriage.
Gay rights advocates in Australia have praised New Zealand for recognizing gay marriage. Mark Proffit from Sydney's Rainbow Tourism said same-sex couples are going to New Zealand to get married since it is considered illegal in Australia.
The High Court of Australia has overturned ACT's legislation in December 2013 allowing same-sex marriages. The ACT Parliament had passed a same-sex marriage bill in October which made it the first state to legalize gay marriage in Australia. But the victory proved to be temporary as the federal government challenged the ACT's bill for being inconsistent with federal laws.
Croome said Australia is now "playing catch-up" with other nations on the issue of marriage reforms. He expected the British consulate weddings in June will reignite the debate in the Parliament.
Aside from Australia, the UK government announced same-sex couples will be allowed to get married in British consulates in Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia and Vietnam.