Same Sex Relationships

Same sex marriages are not recognised in Australia, even if you get married in a country that does recognise it.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, same sex unions are recognised as defacto unions. However, the NT does not offer relationship registries and official domestic partnership schemes to same-sex couples, unlike most other Australian States and Territories.

ACT

In the ACT you can register a civil partnership which is a legally recognised relationship which entitles you to any benefits that others in a domestic partnership receive. At least one of the people must be a resident of the ACT to register a civil partnership.

In the ACT you can also enter into a civil union with a civil union celebrant conducting a ceremony.  A civil union is a legally recognised relationship that has a number of consequences under ACT law. The Act recognises that a civil union is different to a marriage but is treated under territory law in the same way as a marriage.

For more information you can contact the Office of Regulatory Services.

NSW

In NSW,  you can register your relationship on the NSW Relationships Register which gives you and your partner the same legal rights as a married couple for most things.

For more information you can contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Victoria

In Victoria, you can register your relationship on the relationships register.

For more information you can contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

South Australia

Same sex relationships are recognised under SA law ‘domestic partnerships’ if two adults live together as a couple, sleep in the same bed and have an intention to live together as a couple.

Same-sex partners are not able to adopt under South Australian law, as The Adoption Act 1988 (SA) only allows married couples or opposite sex couples who have been together for at least 5 years to adopt.

Same-sex couples can foster a child in SA provided they fulfill the requirements of the Family and Community Services Act 1972 (SA).

Fertile same sex partners cannot access reproductive technology in South Australia.

For legal advice, please contact the Women’s Legal Service South Australia on 08 8221 5553.

Tasmania

In Tasmania, same sex relationships are recognised as significant relationships, and can be formally registered with a  “Deed of Relationship”, which gives partners the same legal rights as a married couple for most things.

Tasmania recognises overseas marriages but can only recognise them as Deeds of Relationship due to the current Commonwealth laws.

For more information you can contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Queensland

In Queensland you can register a relationship which gives you and your partner the same legal rights as a married couple for most things. Queensland may recognise overseas marriages.

For more information on registering a relationship you can check the Births, Deaths and Marriages website.