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Norfolk Island makes marriage push

Wed 17 Sep 2014 In: International News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Cam Christian and Paul Gilmour hope to marry on Norfolk Island Australia’s smallest territory, Norfolk Island, is moving to introduce marriage equality. Norfolk Island Assembly member Hayden Evans is today tabling a draft Bill that will allow same-sex couples from across Australia to marry there. “Over the years, gay and lesbian Norfolk Islanders have made a really important contribution to our community and I want to recognise this by giving them equality and dignity in return,” Evans says. “That’s why I am tabling a draft Bill to allow same-sex couples to commit to each other through marriage and have the same rights and recognition heterosexual couples have.” He says if it becomes law it will showcase to the world that Norfolk Island is an accepting and supportive community where everyone is valued. Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome says Norfolk Island is doing what the overwhelming majority of Australians want – allowing Australian same-sex couples to marry the person they love in the country they love. “This Bill has been drafted to withstand the constitutional problems that sank last year’s ACT’s Marriage Equality Act and, should it pass, I urge the federal government to let it stand. “But if the federal government has outstanding constitutional concerns these should be aired in the High Court.” Cam Christian, a gay Norfolk Islander living in Brisbane and a descendent of Bounty mutineer, Fletcher Christian, says he is excited and proud that he may soon be able to marry his fiancé on his island home. “I’m just so proud that Norfolk is leading the way on an issue that matters to so many people,” he says. “When my partner, Paul, and I got engaged we planned to have a commitment ceremony on the Island, but the chance to be married in front of family and friends is just so important and affirming for us.” His partner Paul Gilmour says it’s exciting. “This is a step in the right direction for not only people like ourselves but future generations" The move is also expected to boost Norfolk Island tourism. “Marriage equality is about fairness for everyone, and it will also bring a much-needed destination profile, and economic and jobs stimulus to Norfolk Island,” Chief Executive Officer for Oceania Economic Development Corporation and a former Norfolk Island Chief Minister Andre Nobbs says. “Over the previous 12 months 240 Australian same-sex couples have married in New Zealand, and if the same number marry on Norfolk the wedding spend alone will be $12 million. “On top of this will be expenditure by guests, and the invaluable global exposure the Island will get for doing the right thing.” Norfolk Island is a self-governing Australian territory of 2,000 people that lies half way between Australia and New Zealand    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 17th September 2014 - 12:11pm

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