Marriage equality win for ACT – despite Abbott challenge
This weekend will see the first same-sex couples legally married on Australian soil.
Australian same-sex couples in the Australian Capital Territory have five days to tie the knot after the High Court yesterday reserved its decision on an Abbott Government challenge to the territory’s new same-sex marriage law until December 12.
Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the ACT from 12.01am on Saturday, even though such unions may be repealed by the High Court on December 12.
One of those taking advantage of the chance to become one of the first same-sex couples to marry in Australia is Australian Marriage Equality deputy national director Ivan Hinton, who will marry his fiancé Chris Teoh on Saturday.
The pair have been married under Canadian law for five years, a union not recognised here, but Hinton told GNN he proposed to Teoh moments after the ACT same-sex marriage law was passed.
“We have very little plans, we haven’t had the opportunity to send invites out. But I have sent out a Facebook public invite, we’re getting married in the Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House. It’s a beautiful space and it’s where we had our commitment ceremony five years ago.”
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has warned couples not to get married in the ACT since the invalidation of their unions may “distress” the newly-weds.
Hinton said Australia had become a nanny state when gay couples were warned not to enter a civic institution “because we could be disappointed”.
“We are concerned about what’s going to happen on or around the 12th, it’s a very odd sensation that we walked into the High Court knowing there were going to be six judges determining whether or not we could get married.”
Hinton said there was a “palpable sensation” in the High Court when people realised they were going to be able to get married on the weekend.
“There was one lady who let out a stifled ‘Whoop!’ as soon as she realised she was going to be able to get married. There’s an enthusiasm that is irrepressible.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said Australia's first legal same-sex marriages would mark a turning point in the national debate.
"When Australians see these weddings on the TV news it will be obvious that this reform is ultimately not about politics or the law, but about values we all share like love, commitment and family,” Croome said.
"Whatever the High Court decides, marriage equality will come one step closer this weekend."
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