What's the deal with the NOIM?
From the 9th December 2017, amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 takes effect. These amendments redefine marriage to be “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”. Marriage equality is now a reality in Australia, meaning that the right to marry is no longer determined by a person’s sexuality or gender. And from today new forms associated with marriage must be used. This section focuses on one of those forms, the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). New NOIMs are available from www.ag.gov.au/marriageforms
NOIMs signed prior to 9 December 2017 will remain valid. Giving a NOIM form: all couples intending to marry must give an authorised celebrant at least one month’s notice prior to the solemnisation of the marriage by completing the NOIM. NOIMs given to an authorised celebrant before 9 December 2017 by couples who are a man and a woman remain valid. There is no requirement for these couples to prepare a replacement NOIM using the new form.
NOIMs given to an authorised celebrant by a same-sex couple before 9 December 2017 are not valid. Couples giving a NOIM with an authorised celebrant on or after 9 December 2017 must use the new form. Two new mandatory items (items 1 and 4) have been added to the NOIM for parties to indicate their sex and how they want to be described. Some people may also need to record a different conjugal status on the NOIM (item 7) than if they had married before 9 December 2017, due to their foreign same-sex marriage, or foreign same-sex divorce, now being recognised. Recording a description of each party in item 1 of the NOIM - item 1 of the NOIM requires a party to indicate how they want to be described.
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This change ensures that state and territory registries of births, deaths and marriages have the option of registering marriages, and issuing certificates of registration, that reflect the description a party has chosen. It is a matter for state and territory registries what information is included, and how it is described, on their register and the certificates they issue.
There are three options for a party’s description: ‘groom’, ‘bride’ and ‘partner’. It is up to each party which descriptor they prefer. The descriptor ‘groom’ can be used by a male party, and ‘bride’ can be used by a female party, regardless of the sex or gender of the other party to the proposed marriage. The descriptor ‘partner’ can be used by a male, female, intersex, non-binary gender or transgender party.
Recording sex in item 4 of the NOIM - new item 4 of the NOIM requires a party to a proposed marriage to indicate their sex. This change ensures that the Australian Bureau of Statistics can continue to collect and publish de-identified statistics on the sex of marrying parties. There are three options for sex: ‘Male’, ‘Female’ and ‘X’ (any person who does not exclusively identify as either male or female, such as a person who is intersex, indeterminate or unspecified).
Celebrants should refer to the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender regarding the types of evidence that may assist to determine a party’s sex, such as an original or amended state or territory birth certificate, a valid Australian Government passport or a statement from a registered medical practitioner or registered psychologist.