Another option, if they don’t want to marry, is to register the relationship

A registered relationship has the same effects as marriage for the purposes of the law of that jurisdiction. So how exactly is a registered relationship different from a e Registry Office to register. You just skip the “elegant ceremony”. All very prosaic – just sign the form, much like registering a car, for example. So much cheaper; but also no promises of everlasting love, for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health. Just a relationship for the time being. Registration, but no covenant.

Or Alex and Chris can forget about any form of marriage or registration and just live together, The legal effect is exactly the same, certainly after two years.

In Australia, then, whether Alex and Chris choose to marry, have a registered relationship, or live together as a couple without formalising or registering their relationship, the effects are almost exactly the same. All roads lead to Rome.

These changes to the law both followed social changes and contributed to them. Initially, cohabitation was typically a short-term thing. People lived together for a while before marrying. That remains the case for some; but increasingly, a de facto relationship has become an alternative to marriage, even for those who want children coffeemeetsbagel COM REVISIГ“N together. Now 35% of children are born outside marriage. The percentage is greater in other countries. In several countries in northern Europe, over 50% of all children are born outside of marriage.

Marriage has ily formation. In 2017, Australia had the lowest number of marriages per 1000 population ever recorded. It was less than half the number who married in 1970, and a lot of those who marry nowadays are forming a second or later marriage.

…of a man and a woman

In 2017, the endment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act was passed following a nationwide plebiscite, described for certain legal reasons as a postal survey. That allowed same sex couples to marry.

In Victoria, and in a number of other States, couples can enter into a ‘registered relationship’

There was of course, a massive cultural conflict over same-sex . There were those who saw it as a body blow to the Christian understanding of marriage, an understanding shared by the other great Abrahamic religions as well as by smaller religions that have some historic points of connection with the Christian faith.

There is no need to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage now. That debate is done and dusted; I do however, want to make one observation about it. For the most part, the battle over marriage equality was about equality rather than marriage. Going back a couple of decades, there were a lot of gay and lesbian people who completely rejected the idea of marriage. In the late-1990s, we hosted a visiting professor from Scotland at the University of Sydney. He gave a staff seminar entitled, ‘Marriage is for heterosexuals. May the rest of us be saved from it’.

That position changed, and there was a strong and successful campaign for marriage equality. However, the strong push to allow same-sex marriage did not, for the most part, indicate any reversal of the trends away from marriage over the last two decades. Promises of a great boon for the wedding industry, rivers of gold flowing from a large number of rainbow weddings, went unfulfilled.

In the first year after legalisation, 2018, there were 6,538 same-sex marriages in Australia. What is that as a proportion of all couples eligible to census, there were just under 46,800 same-sex couples living together. Of these couples, 3,142 had been married overseas, which leaves around 43,500 who were eligible to e-sex couples who might have actually did so. 85% did not.