Queensland First with Marriage Equality

Published Wednesday, 07 March, 2018 at 10:05 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath has today revealed that Australia’s first same-sex marriage was held in Queensland, in December 2017.

The marriage – between two Queensland women – was held on December 15 and allowed to proceed without the 30-day waiting period because one of the women was terminally ill with a rare cancer.

Jo’s family has since asked for their story to be made public.

“This is a love story – of the deep bond between Jo Grant and Jill Kindt,” Mrs D’Ath told Parliament.

“This is also an inspiring story – of the extraordinary lengths our staff went to, to make this historic marriage happen before it was too late.

“And it’s a story of hope that reframes Queensland as a modern, trailblazing state which recognises equal rights and the most fundamental principle – that love is love.”

Mrs D’Ath told Parliament today that Jo and Jill were approved, married, and registered all in one day, after the Registrar ruled exceptional circumstances and staff at Births, Death and Marriages went the extra mile.

“The marriage ceremony took place in the couple’s Sunshine Coast garden, as their family and friends watched on, a community of strangers pulling together to make this marriage happen in time.

“Then the extraordinary staff at Births, Deaths and Marriages went one step further – to deliver the marriage certificates immediately, a team member met the celebrant half way between Brisbane and the northern beaches, pulling over at a roadside servo to deliver the precious paperwork.”

Jo died on January 30 2018. Her wife and parents were in Parliament for today’s statement.

Jo and Jill were one of 159 same sex couples who have been married in Queensland since the marriage equality laws were passed. Another 70 have been booked in with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages before the end of the year.

The Palaszczuk Government has now released a discussion paper exploring how improvements could be made to the legal recognition of Queensland LGBTI people and their families.

Mrs D’Ath said the release of the discussion paper was a key step into a refreshed review of the state’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (BDRM) legislation.

“The Palaszczuk Government acknowledges that there are many people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community who feel that the current legislation does not adequately reflect or capture the true fabric of all Queensland families,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“Now that we have marriage equality, the time is right to examine whether Queensland’s life event registration services meet changing community expectations and the needs of LGBTI Queenslanders.”

Mrs D’Ath said the discussion paper – ‘Registering life events: Recognising sex and gender diversity and same-sex families’ –examines three main issues:

  • collecting and registering a person’s sex;
  • recording the reassignment of a person’s sex; and
  • recording same-sex families on the register.

Mrs D’Ath said the paper also examined whether the processes and criteria for legal recognition were easily accessible and user-friendly.

“This discussion paper is an important step in working towards ensuring all people’s sex and gender is respected and formally recognised in Queensland,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“I encourage Queenslanders to get involved and have their say.

“Today I’ll also be introducing amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registrations Act 2003 to ensure a person who undertakes gender reassignment doesn’t have to divorce their current spouse.

“Section 22 of Act has previously meant that any Queenslander who has undergone sexual reassignment surgery had to divorce their partner to have their gender legally recognised.

“This has caused significant anguish for many gender diverse Queenslanders and must change. 

“It has been unjust and unfair that some members of our community have been forced to face the distressing decision of choosing between their marriage and the legal recognition of their gender identity.

“Other amendments may also need to be made to Queensland legislation as a result of marriage equality. The Government is considering these changes separate to the review of BDMR legislation.”

For further information on the BDMR Act review or to access the discussion paper please visit www.justice.qld.gov.au/bdmactreview or lodge your submission via the Get Involved website www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au.

Media contact: Kirsten MacGregor 0417 675 917