Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Thepassed the legalising bill 8–7, with seven members being joined by the ' Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), . It was opposed by six members. Two of the Assembly's seventeen members, one Liberal and one Labor, were absent.
ACT Attorney-Generalmade a series of last-minute amendments to ensure that the bill would survive a possible court challenge. The legislation allows same-sex couples from all over Australia to marry in the ACT.
said the government would strive toward treating everyone equally and fairly under the law depite the threat of legal challenge. Gay Deputy Chief Minister spoke with feeling about the impact the legislation would have on same-sex couples.
Local Federal Member of Parliament , a strong supporter of rights for same-sex couples, applauded the bill, but Tony Abbott has indicated his government will challenge the bill in the . Abbot's sister Christine Forster, a Liberal Party Sydney City Councillor, who is gay, called for Liberals at the federal level to be allowed a .
The ACT previously passed a bill providing for civil unions in 2006, which was disallowed by the John Howard. The bill was passed again after Howard lost office in 2007, but marriage-like provisions were removed from the act under threat of being disallowed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Rudd now supports same-sex marriage.on the advice of then-Prime Minister
This avenue for disallowing ACT legislation was closed in 2011, when Greens Senator initiated a reform bill taking away the Governor General's ability to disallow territory bills. At present, Tony Abbott does not command a majority in the Senate, so a High Court challenge is an easier option than legislation. The , Section 51(xxi), gives the Commonwealth government — federal government — power to make laws with respect to marriage. The Howard government amended the Commonwealth in 2004 to exclude gay marriages.
- "Commonwealth to launch High Court challenge over ACT same-sex marriage laws" — , October 23, 2013
- Peter Jean and Lisa Cox. "ACT Passes same-sex marriage bill" — , October 22, 2013
- "ACT civil partnership legislation chronology" — , October 22, 2013 (accessed)
- "Territories Self-Government Legislation Amendment (Disallowance and Amendment of Laws) Bill 2011" — , October 22, 2013 (accessed)
- Geoffrey Lindell. "Constitutional Issues Regarding Same-Sex Marriage: A Comparative Survey — North America and Australasia" — , October 22, 2013 (accessed)
- Gay and lesbian couples celebrate the right to marry in Canberra" — , October 21, 2013. "
- Ben McClellan and Lanai Scarr. "Kevin Rudd defends same sex marriage to Pastor on QandA" — , September 3, 2013
- Malcolm Farnsworth. "Would A Double Dissolution In Early 2014 Be Unconstitutional?" — , May 25, 2013