Australia's High Court Decided Not To Allow Gay Marriage

Australia’s first same sex married couple,
Stephen Dawson and Dennis Liddelow. Photo by Martin Ollman. @martin_o. All rights reserved

Gay Marriages will not be able to continue in Australia after the country’s highest court decided the ACT’s new law could not operate in conjunction with federal legislation.

“The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same-sex couples,” the High Court said after its unanimous decision.

The ACT’s legislative council passed the law, which allowed same-sex couples the brief opportunity to wed in Canberra.

Though the Abbott government challenged it in the High Court, saying marriage laws should be covered by federal rulings.

Now, 27 couples who took advantage of the chance will have their marriages annulled.

As the federal government defines marriage as an act between a man and a woman, the ACT has argued its law could sit alongside existing federal legislation.

However the High Court ruled that any change to the Marriage Act must come from the federal Government.

“The Court held that the federal Parliament has power under the Australian Constitution to legislate with respect to same-sex marriage, and that under the Constitution and federal law as it now stands, whether same-sex marriage should be provided for by law is a matter for the federal Parliament,” the court said.

“Because the ACT Act does not validly provide for the formation of same-sex marriages, its provisions about the rights of parties to such marriages and the dissolution of such marriages cannot have separate operation and are also of no effect.

“The Court held that the whole of the ACT Act is of no effect.”

The High Court has released a summary of the judgement to provide certainty to people hoping to wed, however said it may be some time before the full judgement is available.

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