How To Get Married in Australia – For LGBT Couples

In Australia, post the Marriage Amendment Act 2017, the same law applies to straight couples and LGBT couples. I get queries from time to time, from same-sex couples about the steps to get married, which is applicable to them as an LGBT couple.

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18th and Above
Free Consent
Marriage Act 1961

So, to be legally married, a person must:


Not be married to someone else

That means, if you’ve already been legally married to someone else, you need to have got a divorce and be able to show evidence of that (eg via a Certificate of Divorce) before you can get married in Australia. It is important to note that, since December 9th, 2017, all same-sex weddings recognised before and after this date, by the law of a foreign country, is also considered legal in Australia. Hence, it is not legal for the same LGBT couple to remarry in Australia unless there is a concern regarding the authencity of the marriage ceremony conducted outside Australia.

Or, if your partner died, you need to be able to show evidence of their death (eg via a Death Certificate). Your celebrant will ask for these documents before they marry you – and, if you need help to get these documents, your celebrant will be able to point you in the right direction.

Not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister

It’s illegal for you to do this, in Australia. Whilst it’s legal for you to marry your first or second cousin in Australia, you’re not allowed to marry a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister. In Australia, these are considered prohibited relationships. You’ll tell your celebrant that you’re not in a prohibited relationship when you complete the Notice of Intended Marriage (there’s a box to tick) and you’ll also declare it when you complete the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, before your marriage takes place.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry in Australia.

– Bronte Price

Be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18 years old

There are no circumstances where both parties will be allowed to marry in Australia if they’re both under the age of 18 years and the same applies to same-sex couples as well.

Understand what marriage means and freely consent to marry

Your celebrant will inform you of the serious nature of “marriage” as an institution – and the fact that, when you get married, you understand that marriage is binding – that is, it’s a contract that’s not considered easy to get out of; that it’s monogamous – that is, you’re committing to the person you’re marrying to be faithful to them; and that you’re marrying your partner voluntarily – that is, you’re not being forced to marry them.

Use specific words during the ceremony

Your celebrant is required to say certain words during your marriage ceremony. Those words come directly from the Marriage Act 1961 and must be said at every wedding your celebrant performs. Those words are: “I am duly authorised by the law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

Marriage according to the law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Then the following legal vows – or words to this effect – must be said by each person getting married: “I ask everyone here to witness that I, AB, take you, CD, to be my lawful husband (or wife or spouse or partner in marriage) and I ask everyone here to witness that I, CD, take you, AB, to be my lawful husband (or wife or spouse or partner in marriage)”.

Give written notice of their intention to marry to their authorised celebrant, within the required time frame

This is done via a Notice of Intended Marriage. You can view it or download it for future reference.

The required time frame of notice of your intent to get married is one month. That time period begins the day your celebrant receives a signed and witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage. Your celebrant is one of several categories of people authorised to witness your Notice of Intended Marriage. Please note that in extenuating circumstances, a shortening of the require one month’s notice can be given. If this may apply to you, you should speak with your celebrant urgently.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia to legally marry in Australia.

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