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Marriage equality updates from Australia

Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

The Australian coat of arms.
The Australian coat of arms.

Earlier this week, we wrote about a marriage equality bill that had passed the legislature of the Australian Capital Territory.

Some folks correctly pointed out in the comments that the bill was really more of a marriage “equality” bill, since it technically did not extend marriage rights to same-sex couples but rather created a separate marriage status that only same-sex couples could enter into.

According to supporters, this was done to stave off a court challenge by the federal government. But as we mentioned in our previous report, the Australian federal government did nevertheless file a high court challenge against the bill, and the court has scheduled an initial hearing for tomorrow:

A High Court of Australia spokesman has confirmed the first directions hearing for the federal government’s constitutional challenge to the ACT’s same-sex marriage law will take place on Friday at 2.15pm.

It comes as same-sex couples say they will defy advice from the Prime Minister to delay getting married in Canberra, until the High Court has tested the validity of the ACT’s new marriage law.

The Commonwealth is arguing that ACT law is in conflict with the federal Marriage Act and the federal Family Law Act. It wants the case expedited and has suggested a full hearing be held late next month.

As the ACT legal challenge proceeds, another state government in Australia is moving full-speed ahead in its consideration of equal marriage rights, according to Sky News:

Same-sex marriage laws will be debated in NSW [New South Wales] parliament next week, with a cross-party working group ready to put a bill forward.

The group consisting of Liberal, National, Greens, Labor and independent members say the bill follows community and legal consultation, including a parliamentary inquiry that found NSW has the constitutional power to legislate on marriage.

Labor MLC Penny Sharpe said she will introduce the bill next Thursday.

‘The community and parliament can be confident we have done our due diligence to ensure we have the strongest bill possible; one that will allow loving and committed same-sex couples to marry in NSW and one that will withstand any high court challenge,’ she said.

We’ll have coverage on this court case as it develops!

1 Comment

  • 1. New South Wales Parliamen&hellip  |  November 14, 2013 at 8:38 am

    […] Washington, D.C. in that it consists almost entirely of Australia’s capital city of Canberra) approved a marriage equality bill that is currently being challenged in […]

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