An Australian couple famously threatened to get divorced if the country legalized same-sex marriage. Now that Australia has, indeed, legalized same-sex marriage, however, the couple has announced a change of heart, News Corp Australia is reporting.
Back in 2015, when the Land Down Under first started discussing legalizing gay marriage, Nick and Sarah Jensen were having none of it. The devoutly-Christian couple opposed “re-defining” marriage, and they vowed that they would get divorced if the country’s Parliament went through with it. They maintained that they would still live together and refer to each other as “husband” and “wife” but would get a legal divorce. Staying married under the same law that allowed same-sex couples to be married was inconsistent with their biblical values, the couple claimed.
“My wife and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary but later this year we may be getting a divorce. My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same sex couples.”
Their plan was met with derision, both at home in Australia and worldwide. A Facebook group named “Celebrating Nick And Sarah’s Divorce” quickly grew to over 100,000 members.
They vowed to divorce if Australia said yes to #samesexmarriage. Then Nick and Sarah Jensen said they’d wait to see what shape the law took in parliament. Now they know, here’s their next move https://t.co/5YDrLN2Hm6 #marriageequality #voteYES pic.twitter.com/REzS9VOM4s
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) December 7, 2017
And as the Daily Mail reported in 2016, lawyer Michael Tiyce offered to help the couple for free if gay marriage were ever legalized.
“Quite simply, they are going to need it.”
As it turns out, Nick and Sarah aren’t going to take up Tiyce on his offer anytime soon. Although Australia did, indeed, legalize same-sex marriage in a historic vote last week, Nick says he’s not going through with it.
The problem, it seems, is that Australian divorce laws don’t allow you to simply sign on the dotted line and then go on living as husband and wife. You actually have to live apart for 12 months and prove that the consortium vitae (that is, the mutual participation in the, er, “duties” of husband and wife) has ended.
Nick’s not going to do that.
“The legislation currently makes it untenable for us to do this under the law.”
Further, he said, he never intended to “divorce” himself from his wife, but to “divorce” his own marriage from the state.
Still, they continue to oppose same-sex marriage.
“The point we were highlighting and that still stands however is the fact that a redefinition of marriage changes the agreement under which we were originally married.”
And in case you had some follow-up questions, they’re done talking about the issue.
“We will be making no further comment.”
Gay couples in Australia can officially begin tying the knot on January 9, 2018.