An Australian couple who vowed to get a divorce if same-sex marriage was legalised have been offered a “pro bono” lawyer.
Back in 2015, Canberra couple Nick and Sarah Jensen said they’d divorce if equal marriage was legalised. At the time, the couple had just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary but told the Canberra City News that they “may be getting a divorce”.
“Our view is that marriage is a fundamental order of creation. Part of God’s intimate story for human history. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman before a community in the sight of God.”
“And the marriage of any couple is important to God regardless of whether that couple recognises God’s involvement or authority in it.”
Now that Australia has voted yes for equal marriage vote, social media quickly questioned whether the couple would now be divorcing. However, the Jensen’s have gone quiet since the announcement on Wednesday (November 15).
In response to their silence, a Sydney lawyer named Michael Tiyce from Tiyce & Lawyers has offered his support free of charge to the couple.
Speaking to News.com.au, Tiyce said: “Jesus hated divorce, remember” but reveals he wants to help the couple anyway.
“I see it as a call for help, hence my offer. My firm does quite a bit of pro bono work in family law each year in the gay, lesbian and trans community. I thought offering assistance to Nick and Sarah would be an excellent way of reaching out across communities with my family law expertise, because quite simply they are going to need it.”
Despite his expertise, the Jensens’ divorce is going to be a challenge as its only acceptable if the marriage has “broken down irretrievably”. The couple will also need to be separated for a period of 12 months before filing for divorce.
“As I understand the position taken by Nick and Sarah, they intend to divorce, but still remain together and have more children,” he says. “That makes things a bit tricky as they will be unable to establish the consortium vitae has ended.”
“Continuing to present as husband and wife to the world would, in my opinion, make it impossible for them to establish that their relationship was at an end.”
“This is a situation known as ‘wedlock’ which is mostly experienced currently by gay couples who married overseas but cannot always divorce upon separation in Australia because their marriage post 2004 is not recognised here.”
He adds: “The application may be doomed to failure but it is worth giving it a burl.”