Later this month people living in Australia, who have British citizenship, will be able to marry their same-sex partner.
On 27 June British consulates in Sydney and Perth will open their doors to officiate same-sex marriages. Consulates in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra will follow suite soon after the 27 June date.
With hundreds of couples expected to book their wedding ceremonies in Sydney and Perth the heat will be turned onto the Abbott government to reform Australian marriage laws.
Just four months after a High Court ruling would not recognise same-sex marriages in Australia this announcement is hailed as a progressive step towards equality and marriage reform in the country.
After same-sex marriages was legalized in the UK in March this year the Abbott government raised no objections to gay and lesbian couples, of British nationality, marrying Australians in British consulates on Australian soil. However their marriage will not be legally recognised in Australia.
Rodney Croome, national director of the Australian Marriage Equality said they expected as many as 300 Australian couples to take their vows in Australia.
Having the option available in Australia will save them the trip to New Zealand where about the same number of gay and lesbian Australians had been married since the beginning of the year.
He said, “Australia is playing catch-up with other countries on marriage reform.” He added that he expected the weddings in June to renew the political debate in Australia.
“In particular it will increase pressure on Tony Abbott to allow the Coalition party room a free vote on the issue, in line with basic Liberal principles,” Mr Croome said.