Data from Census 2011 shows more than 1,300 Australian same-sex couples identified as being married last year, indicating they had to tie the knot overseas rather than in Australia, the Greens said today.
"More than 2,600 Australians believe in marriage so much they've travelled abroad because same-sex weddings cannot be performed in Australia," Greens' human rights spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
"Sadly, their marriages are still not recognised here in Australia, giving another reason why the Marriage Act needs amending so that weddings performed here or overseas are deemed equal to marriages between other couples.
"I'm sure many of these couples would have preferred to marry the person they love in the country they love, but unfortunately the Marriage Act continues to discriminate against them.
"My friends who have been forced to marry overseas and parents and families of same-sex couples who've contacted me all say their choice would have been to hold their ceremony in Australia and have it acknowledged by their government.
"Research published in February this year shows letting same-sex couples get married in Australia would inject a further $161 million in the first three years of such weddings being allowed.
"That's money which would benefit our hospitality, tourism and other wedding-related businesses, instead of it going to jurisdictions abroad which have already removed discrimination from their marriage laws.
"The federal government earlier this year made it easier for same-sex couples to get married overseas by removing some of the paperwork involved, but the real reform requires amending the Marriage Act.
"The Greens have bills in both houses of parliament to achieve marriage equality this year, but Tony Abbott remains the obstacle by refusing to follow Liberal party tradition and grant his members a conscience vote. Julia Gillard also continues standing in the way by ignoring Labor party policy and despite other leaders being able to change their hearts and support marriage equality, the PM remains on the wrong side of history.
"Both need to get out of the way so marriage reforms can happen in parliament this year, and same-sex weddings performed in Australia or overseas will be recognised in Census 2016."