Same-sex marriage ruling will affect Shoalhaven tourism

SAME-SEX marriage may be legal in Jervis Bay Territory depending on a High Court ruling this Thursday.  

Nowra marriage celebrant Shantele Tait said it was all about love.

“I want to give anyone who wants the chance to get married. People just want to show that they’re in love,” she said.  

Ms Tait has registered to officiate at same-sex weddings but has had only a few inquiries so far.

“All these people getting married have to be prepared that it might be revoked,” she said. 

Last Saturday same-sex marriage legislation was enacted in the Australian Capital Territory but the federal government is challenging it in the High Court. 

If the High Court decides that the Marriage Equality Act is legitimate then parts of Jervis Bay would be the northernmost part of Australia to allow same-sex marriage. 

Couples don’t have to be residents of the ACT, opening up the possibility of marriage tourism.

Manager of Tourism Shoalhaven Steve Lawson said while the Jervis Bay Territory was outside his area it would be great for the Shoalhaven.

“We’re always looking for more opportunities to welcome people to our beautiful area,” he said.

“Unless they come by boat, guess what? They’re coming through the Shoalhaven.”

However couples who want to be married in Wreck Bay, Beecroft or Booderee National Park face confusing and conflicting laws in their home states.

For example a will made in the ACT as a married couple would not be legitimate elsewhere in Australia, although a court may take it into account. 

Related laws surrounding children, superannuation and inheritance are all federally legislated and there is inconsistent recognition of same-sex couples. 

Ms Tait said despite the problems people wanted to be married anyway.

“I don’t think it’s about monetary advantage because there’s almost none. It’s about people who want to be recognised by society as a couple.”

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