Canberra's same-sex marriage laws overturned

Six of the same-sex couples who got married in the ACT pose for a group photo at Old Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen / Canberra Times

Six of the same-sex couples who married in the ACT on Saturday pose for a group photo at Old Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen / Canberra Times

Australia’s High Court has overturned Canberra’s same-sex marriage laws.

The judgement, which was delivered by Chief Justice Robert French to a silent courtroom, found unanimously that the recent ACT legislation allowing same-sex marriage was inconsistent with federal marriage law.

The official announcement of the decision states: “The Court held that the 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.”

It goes on to say that, “The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same sex couples.  The Marriage Act provides that a marriage can be solemnised in Australia only between a man and a woman and that a union solemnised in a foreign country between a same sex couple must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.

That Act is a comprehensive and exhaustive statement of the law of marriage.”

The High Court found that though the law did provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples, the Marriage Act did not allow for marriage between them.

All 27 couples who married in the five-day window between the Canberra law (ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013) being enacted last weekend and today’s High Court decision have had their marriages deemed invalid.

You can read more here.

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