Marriage Equality USA

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International Laws

Updated 12 December 2013


Neither Civil partnerships nor civil unions are recognized by the Commonwealth Government. The Federal Opposition, namely the Australian Labor Party, joined with the Government to support the ban, amid strong objection from the Australian Democrats and The Greens. It was passed on 13 August 2004 as effective from the day of assent

The states and territories of New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have a "registered partnership" system that is available for all couples. These state-level registered relationships are recognized on both the state and Commonwealth Government levels. Even some councils such as Sydney, Melbourne and Yarra provide a relationship register for symbolic recognition, but provide no legal recognition. However, all Government levels of Australia have some form of "de-facto status recognition" or "common-law marriage" that recognizes both same sex and opposite sex couples, called "unregistered co-habitation".

Surviving partners from same-sex couples are able to claim tax-free pension benefits from deceased partners. Same-sex partners of members of the Australian Defense Force are granted the same benefits as spouses of married soldiers. Same-sex couples can sponsor their partners for immigration purposes.

On 23 August 2012 the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Legislative Assembly passed a bill to introduce legally binding ceremonies for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples in the ACT have been able to register their civil partnership since 2008. The new bill will replace the Civil Partnerships Act 2008 and fully restore the role of ceremonies and celebrants in civil unions.

The Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 22 October 2013 and signed on 7 November 2013. Same-sex marriages began in the ACT on 7 December 2013. However, on 11 December 2013 Australia's High Court struck down the landmark law and annulled the same-sex marriages that had taken place.

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

There is no recognition of same-sex marriage, civil unions, or any other legal recognition for same-sex couples. While there are no permissible provisions for same-sex marriage, there seems to be no specific law within the Federated States of Micronesia prohibiting two people of the same gender from marrying.

New Zealand

New Zealand's Parliament passed the Marriage (Equality) Amendment Bill on 17 April 2013. Same-sex marriages began 19 August 2013 following a 4 month administrative delay.


Civil marriage equality is not legal at the territory level. There is no known legal recognition for same sex relationships; no known specific laws against relationship recognition. Homosexuality is still criminalized for males, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and not addressed for females.

In 2004 Delegate Joel Toribiong introduced proposed legislation that would limit marriage to be between two persons of the opposite sex. Saying that "marriage should only be between man and woman; for these two individuals to have children and become a family that produces and maintains the Republic, as such, a marriage that provides the prosperity and longevity of our nation". We do not know what happened with that proposed legislation.