The Australian Parliament approved marriage equality a month ago, but today (Tuesday, Jan. 9) was the first day same-sex couples could legally marry. Australia has a one-month waiting period between registering and marriage.
Several same-sex couples were given waivers during the month “due to illness, family circumstances and other tribulations,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Most U.S. jurisdictions have a waiting period between getting a license and getting married, but those periods are much shorter. Texas has a three-day wait, but on marriage equality day, judges waived the wait.
Australia is the 26th marriage equality country.
Coverage of marriage equality was extremely light in Australia compared to what happened on the day the U.S. Supreme Court issued its marriage equality ruling. Couples marrying were the headline in everything from local dailies to the largest circulation newspapers such as The New York Times. In Australia, the story was buried, with few details and fewer pictures.
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, “Early January is not typically wedding season, and the NSW registry indicated it had more nuptials scheduled in later weeks,” explaining that couples who had been together for years would wait until they could plan proper ceremonies and receptions.
The Brisbane Times reported that couples that married overseas had their marriages recognized in December. The newspaper reported a story of Centrelink, Australia’s department of human services, rejecting applications for assistance from gay and lesbian couples with the message, “Under Australian law, marriages between same-sex couples are not recognised.” That message has been updated.
Newspapers such as Melbourne’s The Courier Mail, owned by NewsCorp (better known as Fox News in the U.S.), completely ignored Australia granting same-sex couples equal rights.
The marriage equality countries as of January 2018 are:
— David Taffet