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Relationships Act
The Tasmanian Approach
© April 3, 2006, Demian

The Tasmanian registration status was established in 2004. It is the first Australian state to offer a registration status for same-sex couples and other “caring” relationships.

By offering a domestic partnership registration status, instead of legal marriage, the Australian state of Tasmania created an apartheid, with one set of laws pertaining to opposite-sex couples, and another for same-sex couples. [See Marrying Apartheid]

While this status offers an improved range of protections for same-sex couples who live in Tasmania, it contains many gaps.

While the Relationships Act recognizes a range of “significant relationships,” including those between a person and a long-term care giver, or elderly friends who live together, no “caring” relationships have been registered.

The Tasmanian “Relationships” status is recognized in Great Britain, which has its own registration status.

Gay sex was illegal in Tasmania until 1997, when the anti-sodomy law was repealed (earlier reports placed the law change in 1994).

For the privilege of gaining access to the less-than-equal status, a couple needs to fork over a fee of $200.

As of January 15, 2006, a mere 58 couples registered. Only one male couple un-registered.

As of April 4, 2006, 63 couples have registered.

The Relationships Act provides for recognition and registration of two types of relationships: significant and caring.

Types of Relationships
You can register a Significant Relationship if:
  • Relationship is between two adults who have a relationship as a couple
  • You are not married to one another
  • You are not related by family
  • Both parties live in Tasmania
You can register a Caring Relationship if:
  • Relationship is between two adults, whether or not related by family, one of whom provides the other with domestic support and personal care
  • You are not married to one another
  • You are not in an existing significant or caring relationship
  • Neither party is receiving payment for the care of the other either from employment or government departments
  • Both parties live in Tasmania

Registration Rights
  • Superannuation
  • Taxation
  • Insurance
  • Health Care
  • Hospital Visitation
  • Wills
  • Property Division
  • Employment Conditions (such as parenting and bereavement leave)

Tasmania’s Registration Web Site

For a vast survey, please see our:
Legal Marriage Report: Global Status of Legal Marriage

Return to: Domestic Partnership Benefits
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage

Netherlands (2001)
Belgium (2003)
Canada (2005)
Spain (2005)
South Africa (2005)
Norway (2009)
Sweden (2009)
Iceland (2010)
Argentina (2010)
Portugal (2010)
Denmark (2012)
France (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
Brazil (2013)
Uruguay (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
United Kingdom
(England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
Luxembourg (2014)
Finland (2014)
Ireland (2015)
United States (2015)
Colombia (2016)
Germany (2017)
Taiwan (2017)
Malta (2017)
Australia (2017)
US States & Territories
U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 2015 Ruling: All U.S. States must allow same-sex couples legal marriage.

Massachusetts (2004)
California (2008)
Connecticut (2008)
Iowa (2009)
Vermont (2009)
New Hampshire (2009)
District of Columbia (2009)
New York (2011)
Maine (2012)
Washington (2012)
Maryland (2013)
Rhode Island (2013)
Delaware (2013)
Minnesota (2013)
Illinois (2013)
Utah (2013)
New Jersey (2013)

Hawaii (2013)
New Mexico (2013)
Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Oregon (2014)
Wisconsin (2014) Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Pennsylvania (2014)
Indiana (2014)
Nevada (2014)
Virginia (2014)
Oklahoma (2014)
Idaho (2014)
West Virginia (2014)
Alaska (2014)
Arizona (2014)
Wyoming (2014)
Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Florida (2014)
Colorado (2014)
North Carolina (2014)
South Carolina (2014)
Montana (2014)
Alabama (2015)
Native American Tribes

Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan (2014)
Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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