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Australia eases path for gay weddings

Jan. 27, 2012 at 1:35 AM

CANBERRA, Australia, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Same-sex couples may not marry in Australia but those who tie the knot elsewhere are getting an assist from the government, recognition of marriages abroad.

Attorney General Nicola Roxon said Friday homosexuals will be able to get a Certificate of No Impediment, which was previously available only to heterosexuals planning to marry overseas, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The document certifies would-be spouses are 18 or older, single and have no other legal barrier to matrimony.

Same-sex couples can marry legally in 10 countries and six U.S. states. A number of countries, including Norway, South Africa, Spain and Portugal, require Certificates of No Impediment.

''This important change will allow same-sex couples to take part in overseas marriage ceremonies, and be considered married according to the laws of that country,'' Roxon said.

Australia does not recognize homosexual marriages conducted in jurisdictions where they are legal. But couples can use the marriage as proof of a longstanding committed relationship.

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