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Official Party Document
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The institution of marriage pre-dates all religions, nations, and political parties by tens of thousands of years. As marriage is a collective, shared inheritance and part of the social commons, there is no justification for it to be co-opted by any modern religious or political agenda. Control of marriage by political parties or religious groups is an appropriation from history and from the public, and those claiming a right to control and define marriage have no such right in truth.

The Marriage Act in current form denies many couples a human right which is taken for granted in mainstream, heterosexual society. The Marriage Amendment Act 2004 made this outcome worse by imposing a declaration, compulsorily recited at all weddings, that marriage in Australia is an exclusionary institution available only to certain types of relationships.[1] In effect, this turns marriage law into a way to force religious principles into state ceremonies, undermining the separation of Church and State.[2] Politicisation of the Marriage Act[3] does not just attack civil liberties.[4] It also reinforces stigmas around minority groups at a time when anxiety is already widespread and suicide attempts among LGBT persons far outstrip the general population.[5]

The only effective way to stop this abuse of rights is to abolish the Marriage Act. Marriage should be protected not by excluding particular individuals, but by excluding the state. This would return marriage to the community, to be interpreted by all in line with their own traditions and values. A Civil Unions Act could then be established in place of the Marriage Act, which would offer equal treatments, rights, and recognition to all couples.

Pirate Party Australia advocates the following reforms:

Replace the Marriage Act 1961 with a Civil Unions Act

  • Couples in a union under the Civil Unions Act will be afforded the same rights available under the current Marriage Act.
  • Civil unions will be available to all consenting couples.
    • The legal age of consent for involvement in a Civil Union will be 18 years.
  • The Civil Unions Act will provide a state recognised union with equivalent legal and monetary benefits to those provided currently within the Marriage Act.
  • Couples in legally recognised unions from overseas will be recognised under this Act.
  • The institution of marriage will be removed from the purview of state authority. The right of secular and religious organisations to offer ceremonies in adherence with their own beliefs would not be infringed.
    • No legal basis will be provided for any attempt to force any organisation to provide marriage services where such an act would be at odds with organisational values.
  • Unions not involving consenting arrangements between adults will remain banned.


  1. Marriage Amendment Act 2004 (Cth) http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2004A01361 (accessed 9 March, 2013).
  2. Cannold, Lesley. "Australia's Fading Separation Between Church and State." ABC Religion & Ethics." 13 May, 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/05/13/3216153.htm (accessed 9 March, 2013).
  3. Marriage Amendment Act 2004 (Cth) http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2004A01361 (accessed 9 March, 2013).
  4. Australian Human Rights Commission. Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee on the Provisions of the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 (Cth). August 2004. http://humanrights.gov.au/legal/submissions/marriage_leg.html (accessed April 24, 2013).
  5. Australian Medical Students Association. Marriage Equality and Health. (March 2012). http://media.amsa.org.au/policy/2012/201203_marriage_equity_and_health_policy.pdf (accessed 9 March, 2013).