Fed Govt refuses to rule out legal challenge to same-sex marriage
A Greens motion calling on the federal government to rule out legal challenges to state-based same-sex marriage laws failed in the Senate yesterday.
The motion followed a same-sex marriage bill failing to pass in Tasmania last month, with many objections to the bill highlighting uncertainty over constitutional issues and the possibility of a costly High Court challenge.
South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (pictured) accused the government of keeping the states “in the dark” on the issue.
“Today the Gillard Government refused to let the states get on with the business of representing the majority of Australian people who support marriage equality without the fear of a legal challenge from the Commonwealth,” Hanson-Young said.
“The old parties of Labor and the Coalition have failed to show leadership in supporting marriage equality and today I called on Julia Gillard to at least get out of the way.
“The Prime Minister stood in the way when the vote was before the Federal Government and now, by not ruling out a Commonwealth challenge of state legislation, Julia Gillard is choosing to further hinder this inevitable reform.”
Hanson-Young pointed out that South Australia appears next in line to debate a same-sex marriage bill, with both government and opposition declaring they will allow a conscience vote on the issue.
“South Australia has led the way with progressive reforms in the past and the Commonwealth shouldn’t hinder my state from doing so again on the issue of marriage equality,” she said.
“Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have to explain why they are making gay and lesbian Australians wait to have their love and their relationships recognised as equal in this country.
“It is clear to most of us that they have already waited too long.”