Experts firm up ACT marriage equality laws
Constructional experts have advised the ACT’s marriage equality reforms will remain vulnerable to a High Court Challenge unless the government’s amendments are passed next week.
The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, said advice from High Court barrister Brett Walker noted further amendments as essential for the laws to have the best chance of surviving.
“We absolutely welcome the ACT’s commitment to achieving marriage equality, but it’s important to get it right. We want the laws to survive and that’s why we are urging the ACT Government to honour its commitment to introduce required amendments as soon as possible to finish the job,” said Brown.
Both AME and the HRLC are concerned of what would happen to couples married under the ACT law should the Bill be strcukdown.
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said: "We welcome the ACT's commitment to getting this legislation right through further amendments. We don't want the solemn life-long vows made by couples under the new ACT law to be undone by a drafting error,"
The HRLC and AME have provided the ACT Government with suggested amendments which would be easy to make and would ensure the Bill creates a new legal status of “same-sex marriage” clearly distinguishable from federal marriage. This would greatly shore up the law's chances of surviving the High Court challenge that the Commonwealth Government has promised to mount.
Intersex and transgender people have been angered that the ‘same –sex category’ excludes them from achieving marriage rights, but both Brown and Croome confirm
transgender and intersex people will be able to marry under the Territory law if they cannot marry under the federal Marriage Act.
"The advice we have received confirms that, under current gender recognition laws, no transgender or intersex person will be excluded from marrying under the amendments we want to see to the ACT law,” said Mr Croome.
“Whilst there is more work to do to better recognise intersex, transgender and gender diverse people in the law, today is clearly a great step forward for marriage equality in Australia and there’s little doubt that other states will soon follow suit,” said Brown.