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article imageAustralian High Court overturns ACT same-sex marriage law

By Brett Wilkins     Dec 13, 2013 in World
Canberra - Australia's High Court overturned legislation allowing same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory, annulling the marriages and shattering the dreams of dozens of couples who have wed under the law.
The Australian reports the High Court unanimously struck down the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act, under which 27 same-sex couples have legally wed. By overturning the historic law, the High Court has effectively closed the door on similar legislation throughout Australia.
BBC reports the High Court asserted that the issue of marriage equality should be decided by the nation's parliament, which rejected same-sex marriage legislation as recently as last year. Australian federal law also states that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Some states in the nation of 22.7 million allow same-sex civil unions.
"The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same-sex couples," the High Court explained in its ruling. "The Marriage Act provides that a marriage can be solemnized in Australia only between a man and a woman."
Australians who have been stripped of their marriage rights and had their marriages invalidated were shocked and disappointed by the High Court's decision.
"In less than a week we've been married and we've been unmarried, at least on a legal level" lamented a tearful Ivan Hinton. "We're still married," Hinton told reporters. "I've made commitments to [my partner] to spend the rest of my life with him."
Rodney Croome, national director of Australian Marriage Equality, released a statement in which he said the High Court ruling was "devastating for those couples who married this week and for their families."
But the anti-gay marriage Australian Christian Lobby welcomed the court's decision.
"Marriage between a man and a woman is good for society and beneficial for governments to uphold in legislation," the group said in a statement. "It is about providing a future for the next generation where they can be raised by their biological parents, wherever possible."
"It is now time to move on," the statement opined. But those Australians who have been stripped of their rights and denied equal treatment have a different kind of 'moving on' in mind.
The ruling, said Australian Greens Party leader Christine Milne, is a "clarion call for everyone in the country who supports marriage equality to now put pressure on the Federal Government and Federal Parliament to change it."
More about Australia, Samesex marriage, australia gay marriage, Marriage equality, act marriage law
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