Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

Overseas marriage certificate not accepted

Conciliations: Homosexual discrimination in service provision

Published: 25th March 2019

A man who wanted to change his name to that of his husband on a document was told that his overseas marriage certificate was not acceptable evidence.

Two men had been married in another country and one of them changed his surname to be the same as his partner. When they went to the office of a service provider to register the change, the provider refused to accept their overseas marriage certificate as evidence.

The service provider said that they weren’t clear whether the marriage certificate was acceptable. This was before same-sex marriage had become legal in Australia. They said the men would have to provide a civil union certificate, but the Consulate told them these were no longer being issued. 

The men pointed out that the marriage certificate of heterosexual friends also married overseas had been accepted in the same situation. One of them made a complaint of homosexual discrimination to the Board.

The service provider said it was just an error about what was acceptable evidence. They contacted the complainant and offered him priority treatment to get the problem fixed straight away. The complainant was pleased with this offer but also felt an apology was due. 

A senior manager for the service provider then rang the men and also sent them a written apology. The complainant said this was more than he could have hoped for and the complaint was resolved. 

More information on Homosexual discrimination​​

​​​Back to March 2019 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​​

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