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Marriage equality advocates respond to High Court ruling

Marriage equality advocates respond to High Court ruling

LAST UPDATED // Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:35 Written by // Cec Busby

In the wake of the High Court’s decision to strike down the ACT’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill as inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act, Marriage Equality advocates are regrouping and pondering next steps to achieve equal love in Australia.

Whilst devastated by the defeat, Australian Marriage Equality National Director, Rodney Croome, said the marriages that took place over the weekend serve as a reminder to all Australians of the commitments of the nation’s same-sex couples.

“This is devastating for those couples who married this week and for their families. However, this is just a temporary defeat,” said Croome.

“What is far more important is that the ACT’s law facilitated the first same-sex marriage on Australian soil and showed the nation the love and commitment of same-sex couples.”

Croome said the marriages proved the reform is not about politics, but about love, commitment, and fairness.

Advocates suggest that despite the High Court striking down the ACT law, the decision proved the Federal Government can legislate for marriage equality.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, said whilst the decision did nullify the marriages of all the couples who tied the knot in the ACT last week it did indicate the Federal Parliament does have the right to legislate for marriage equality.

“This is obviously a blow to the same-sex couples who have made the most of the short window of opportunity to get married in the ACT,” said Brown.

“Fortunately, there is a silver lining – the High Court has confirmed beyond doubt that the Australian Constitution allows the Federal Parliament to legislate for marriage equality,”

While the Human Rights Law Centre had expressed concerns about the survival of the ACT’s Bill in a High Court challenge, Brown said state based laws in Tasmania and NSW would have a greater chance of surviving should the state's wish to pursue them.

“The problems in the ACT law identified by the Court have not been included in the NSW and Tasmania same-sex marriage bills, so there are still ample avenues for Australians to pursue marriage equality,” said Brown.

Yesterday a cross-party marriage equality working group was established between Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Sentaor Sue Boyce and Sentaor Louise Pratt  and today Senator Hanson-Young introduced a Marriage Equality Bill into the Senate.

“We now have clear political and constitutional path forward for marriage equality, and call on the Prime Minister to grant his party a free vote on the reform,” Croome concluded.

The High Court’s summary ruling is can be read  here


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and GayNewsNetwork.com.au.

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