HRC Blog

Australia High Court Overturns ACT Marriage Equality Law

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.

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