Census counts married same-sex couples
Census figures released today show there are over 1,300 married same-sex couples living in Australia.
The 2011 data is the first to specifically show same-sex couples who have marked themselves as 'married' on their census forms.
Executive director of the 2011 census Andrew Henderson told the press the numbers were being included for the first time due to a high level of interest.
"In the past, if someone [in a same-sex relationship] said 'married' we automatically coded them to de-facto," he said.
The 1,334 couples tagged as married are couples who have gone overseas to wed, although their married status is not recognised under Australian law.
"The fact that at least 1338 same-sex couples have gone to the great lengths to marry overseas shows how deeply they value marriage," Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich said.
"As someone who recently married overseas I understand how painful it is that my solemn vow of lifelong commitment counts for more in a foreign country than it does in the country of which I am a citizen."
Greenwich said he suspected the number of married couples may be under-estimated, because people legally married overseas may not realise they had the right to mark themselves 'married' on the census form.
"The prevalence of same-sex couples travelling overseas also highlights the cost of discrimination to the Australian economy, particularly the small businesses associated with the wedding industry," Greenwich said.
"US researchers have estimated the minimum injection of new spending into the Australian economy from same-sex weddings would be $161 million, yet the Australian Government is content to see a significant proportion of this money spent overseas".
Data also shows there are nearly 65,000 Australians in de facto same-sex relationships who cannot legally marry in this country.