Aussie Embassies Prevent Overseas Gay Marriages

Today there was a newspaper report about how Howard’s anti-gay marriage stance has affected Australian citizens living overseas wishing to marrying their same-sex partners.

Embassies unhelpful with gay marriages

By Julie Szego
January 14, 2006

THE Federal Government is obstructing gay couples wanting to wed in countries that recognise same-sex couples.

The Attorney-General’s Department last year told at least two embassies in Europe to refuse assistance to citizens seeking proof of their single status so as to enter a same-sex marriage.

The policy came to light after authorities blocked an Australian man’s attempt to marry his gay partner in the Netherlands.

The Australian embassy in Vienna refused Peter Kakucska, from Melbourne, a certificate confirming his single status once it became clear he needed it to marry Markus Muehlmann, an Austrian national.

The Netherlands requires proof that foreign nationals wishing to marry there are not already married in their country of origin. Australian embassies provide this proof in the form of a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage, or a Single Status Certificate.

Mr Kakucska, an actor, has lived in Vienna with Mr Muehlmann, a businessman, since 1993. Last year the couple took advantage of European Union laws that entitled them to apply to marry in the Netherlands.

Speaking from Vienna, Mr Kakucska said embassy staff knew his sexual orientation.

The embassy provided Mr Kakucska with a stamped “certification” that stated: “Following the advice of the Australian Attorney-General’s Department we herewith certify that Australian law does not allow the issue of a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage to persons wishing to enter into a same-sex marriage.”

He got a similar document saying the embassy could not provide a Single Status Certificate.

The Netherlands ultimately accepted those documents, along with an affidavit from Mr Kakucska, as proof he was single. The couple married in the Netherlands in November.

Mr Kakucska, who described his trials at the embassy as “inhuman”, plans to take legal action against the Government.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada.

Shit like this makes my blood boil. It is bad enough that the government refuses to recognise any overseas same-sex marriages when people are immigrating to Australia, but to stop its citizens from marrying overseas is just downright spiteful. I now want to go and punch something.

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