The Australian government is blocking the marriage of the lesbian sister of the former Premier of the state of Tasmania, David Bartlett.
Mr Bartlett’s sister, Angela Borella, was set to marry her Portuguese partner in Lisbon next year, but her plans have been thrown into disarray because the Australian Government refuses to provide her with the certificate required by the Portuguese authorities to show she is not already married in Australia.
As a matter of course, the Australian Government issues Certificates of No-Impediment to Marriage (CNI) to heterosexual Australians marrying overseas, but has refused such certificates to same-sex partners since at least 2005.
Australian Marriage Equality Campaign Director, Rodney Croome, said Ms Borella is one of many gay and lesbian Australians who have been disadvantaged because of the Federal Government’s mean-spirited policy.
“Not content with stopping same-sex couples marrying in Australia, the Federal Government is trying to stop us marrying overseas as well”, he said.
“The Australian Government says it can’t issue the certificate in question to same-sex couples because same-sex marriages aren’t recognised here, but these certificates aren’t about what Australian marriage law says, they’re about whether an Australian is free to marry under foreign marriage laws.”
The ruling Australian Labor Party will discuss marriage equality at its National Conference next week. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is opposed and despite most state Labor Party conferences having passed motions supporting marriage equality and polls showing a majority of Australians in support, observers do not not believe it is certain that the national conference will vote in favor.
Gillard announced last week that she would allow a free vote by her party’s MPs on the issue in parliament, which would likely doom any motion as there are a number of right wing Labor MPs known to be in opposition.
Bartlett told the Age newspaper that his sister’s predicament is “upsetting” and called on the Government to support marriage equality.
“It is now time for the Labor Party to show progress and real leadership on this issue. My sister has found true love and for her not to be able to express that true love in another country that agrees with same-sex marriage because of the Australian context is very upsetting for everyone,” he said.
It also emerged last week that six months after the campaign group Get-Up paid A$31,000 at a charity auction for dinner with Gillard and gave the tickets to three gay couples, the dinner has yet to be scheduled.
Get-Up have put out a fantastic new video supporting the push for marriage equality which some media have described as “amazing” and as leaving them “misty eyed.”
Picture credit darcyandkat