What will the new marriage law mean for our community?


I’ve been out as lesbian since I was 18 and an advocate for many people in situations where they were not able to do so themselves. Several months ago, anticipating changes to the Marriage Act, I started to think about the necessity of having nurturing, understanding service providers who could provide for us from within our community.

The role of celebrant goes beyond planning the perfect ceremony, it has to satisfy the couples need to be understood and accepted, to be aware of the different challenges they’ve faced and be celebrated for these successes too. This has led me to become a registered Marriage Celebrant.

I am also passionate about providing information to our community to help us through this transition. If you have an issue, query or concern that you’d like me to address, please flick me an email.


How wonderful that our politicians got Dean Smith’s bill through the parliament unamended! It’s been a bitter relief and a celebration all rolled into one. Rarely has an issue that’s been described as ‘not important enough’ on so many occasions, received so much attention within our parliament.

Married in another country?

If you’ve married your same sex spouse under the laws of another country, your marriage will be recognised under Australian law the moment it comes into effect. You won’t need to register your marriage. You won’t need to inform any government department. You won’t need to lift a finger! Your marriage certificate will be recognised as the legal document that it is. You will also be able to tell people that you are among the very first same sex couples legally recognised in Australia. You pioneer you!

Want a quickie wedding the day the laws come in?

No, sorry, that’s not going to happen. The first legal step you need to take in Australia is to lodge a form called the Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM). This is usually lodged with your marriage celebrant. You then have to wait one month before you can go ahead with the marriage. Yes, one month. It’s like a cooling off period and means you can’t get drunk and get married Las Vegas style. The NOIM is valid for 18 months.

Transgender Marriage Dilemma.

Under the Gender Reassignment Act 2000 (WA state legislation), married transgender West Australians are unable to get a Recognition Certificate unless they get a divorce. It’s unsure whether changes to the federal Marriage Act will automatically change this situation. This question is currently before John Quigley, the WA Attorney General and Patrick Hogan, the president of the WA Gender Reassignment Board. We are still waiting for an outcome. Either way, we will still need someone to put a bill before state parliament to amend the act.

I’m yet to find information about anyone actually putting forward a bill yet. I will continue to make inquiries and keep you updated. Please urge your local MP’s to make and support change on this issue. There is also a push happening to remove the WA Gender Reassignment Board altogether. Fingers crossed. We can’t leave our married transgender community behind during this historic time.

Halimah Halse
Marriage Celebrant

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