Australia High Court Overturns ACT Marriage Equality Law
December 12, 2013 by HRC staff
Post submitted by Jane WothayaThirikwa, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
Australia's High Court has overturned legislation allowing same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), just five days after it took effect, invalidating wedding ceremonies of more than two dozen couples.
The High Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a matter for Australian lawmakers to decide at the national level. The Australian parliament voted down a marriage equality legislation bill in September 2012.
The ACT parliament passed the bill in October making the territory the first part of Australia to legalize same-sex marriage. The law allowed for couples to wed beginning December 2013. The unions have now been declared invalid.
The federal government challenged the decision, arguing that a different territory having different laws was inconsistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act and the Family Law Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Civil unions are however allowed in some states in Australia.