Legal experts give green light to Tas same-sex marriage law
High Court barrister and constitutional expert, Bret Walker SC, has proclaimed the Tasmanian Same Sex Marriage Bill to be constitutionally sound.
Walker worked together with constitutional experts Chris Young and Perry Herzfeld to draft a legal opinion following a comprehensive review and analysis of the issues involved.
Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, who briefed Walker to prepare a legal opinion on the Tasmanian Bill on behalf of Australian Marriage Equality, said there should now be nothing to prevent the achievement of marriage equality in Australian States.
“The advice confirms that the Tasmanian Parliament and other state parliaments able to legislate to allow same-sex marriages. This is fantastic news that paves the way to achieving marriage equality in Australia very soon.
Brown cited Walker’s standing in the legal community and his expertise in conditional law as a providing a definitive answer on the subject of constitutionality.
“While many legal commentators have expressed views on this topic, none of the calibre and standing of Mr Walker SC and his assisting counsel have engaged in such a thorough review and analysis of the history and development of marriage under English and Australian law,” she said.
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, was pleased with Walker’s findings describing them as a ‘game changer’.
“Mr Walker’s vindication of the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage laws is a game changer in the Australian marriage equality debate because it confirms that the states can act in the absence of action from the federal government,” said Croome.
The findings will no doubt come as welcome news to Ruth Forrest, a member of Tasmania’s Legislative Council who has lodged a motion for the Upper House to revisit the Same Sex Marriage Bill.
“With this legal advice from one of Australia’s most highly regarded legal minds, members of the Legislative Council who previously raised genuine questions and sought further information and assurance in 2012 regarding this issue can now rest assured that same sex marriage can be progressed in Tasmania,” commented Forrest. “I urge all MLC’s to fully consider this advice and give it the respect it deserves by allowing the debate to be re-opened.”
The advice follows the recent release of a report from the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute which found that states can legislate for same-sex marriages.
The legal opinion prepared by Mr Bret Walker SC also affirms the constitutional power of the Federal Government to pass laws for same-sex marriages.