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No Gay Marriage unless the Federal Parliament says so

This result is precisely what I expected when I wrote may earlier post on the overreach of the Canberra Town council>

The High Court determined that the federal parliament has the power under the Australian constitution to legislate on same-sex marriage, and that whether or not same-sex marriages are legalised is a matter for the federal parliament.

“The Court held that the object of the ACT Act is to provide for marriage equality for same sex couples and not for some form of legally recognised relationship which is relevantly different from the relationship of marriage which federal law provides for and recognises,” the summary judgment said.

“Accordingly, the ACT Act cannot operate concurrently with the federal Act.”

It said because the ACT does not validly provide for the formation of same sex marriages, the whole of the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 has no effect.

Supporters of gay marriage were dismayed at the ruling.

“This is devastating for those couples who married this week and for their families,” Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said shortly after the decision was handed down in Canberra.

However, he said the ruling was just “a temporary defeat”.

Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Ivan Hinton was one person who took advantage of the ACT laws, marrying his partner Chris Teoh in Canberra last weekend.

“I don’t want to be unmarried this afternoon,” he told reporters outside the High Court.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the ruling upheld the uniformity of marriage laws across the country.

“Marriage between a man and a woman is good for society and beneficial for governments to uphold in legislation,” managing director Lyle Shelton said in a statement.

“It’s about providing a future for the next generation where they can be raised by their biological parents, wherever possible.” Mr Shelton was concerned for same-sex couples who thought they were married under the ACT legislation.

“Understandably they will be disappointed at the decision handed down today and it is unfortunate they were put in this position,” he said.

Human Rights Law Centre spokeswoman Anna Brown said the ruling was a blow to the same-sex couples who had tied the knot in the ACT.

“The outcome has laid responsibility for advancing marriage equality squarely at the feet of the federal parliament,” she said.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said her government had no regrets about pursuing marriage equality.

Source

There are no short cuts to bringing about such a substantive change to our society and anyone who thinks that its a good thing to try to make such changes through the back door opened by an  overblown town council are clearly deluded. The high court has spoken and made it clear that the definition of marriage is entirely within the remit of our FEDERAL parliament and the activists that pursued this bit of street theatre should be hanging their heads in shame that they have given Gay marriage advocates  such empty and  false hope,

Well I’m Cheering a good decision Comrades

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8 Comments

  1. Richard Ryan says:

    Just tell the powers to be in Federal Parliament to get F*cked, as I have.

  2. Leon Bertrand says:

    Here’s my 2 cents on this issue: http://brisbanelegal.wordpress.com/

  3. Iain, the derogatory tone of your post – and other posts on this topic – is unfortunate.

    Firstly, describing the ACT’s form of government as an ‘overblown town council’ is disrespectful to an Australian territory of 350,000 people by suggesting that it’s nothing more than a tiny country town. (Just to make it clear: I don’t live in the ACT, but in regional NSW.)

    Secondly, you may wish to employ a more empathetic tone to your writings on this matter. Marriage-equality is about adult people with lives and aspirations and hopes and dreams. They are just like every other part of adult Australian society: they love, they nurture; they raise and care for children effectively; they are productive members of society. They are merely seeking societal recognition and legal protection for their relationships, as has happened in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, much of Scandinavia, and a significant part of the US. (Keeping gay and lesbian people, particularly youth, out in the legal cold only sends a message that they are not valued members of society. The toll this takes annually is awfully tragic.)

    Further, polls consistently show a majority of Australians favour marriage equality, and this has been the case for some years now; additionally those under 30 years of age are very much in favour. If Australia’s federal parliament is not representing the populace in this regard, primarily because the parliament mostly comprises men over a certain age, then it is fair and reasonable for jurisdictions to bring about change through different means.

    I applaud the ACT Government’s ongoing initiative, specifically because the many marriage ceremonies that happened in the ACT during the 5-day window showed that, yes, these couples are just like everyone else – plain and simple.

    Finally, you may wish to know that up until 1961, marriage in Australia was handled through state and territory legislation.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Nigel

    Iain, the derogatory tone of your post – and other posts on this topic – is unfortunate.

    As you may well remember I make a big point of stressing that I am an enthusiastic advocate for some form of civil union for same sex couples and all of my pieces on this topic also point out that I am a great supporter of everyone’s right to have the partners and or lovers entirely as they please regardless of their respective genders. In the case of thsi post my derision is entirely focused on the ACT government for pulling this rather silly stunt.

    Firstly, describing the ACT’s form of government as an ‘overblown town council’ is disrespectful to an Australian territory of 350,000 people by suggesting that it’s nothing more than a tiny country town. (Just to make it clear: I don’t live in the ACT, but in regional NSW.)

    Well there are many cities/ and towns in this country with more residents and they do not go around passing laws about marriage. None the less I think that its good to bring the Canberra local government down a peg or two because there is no sound reason to suggest that they are in anyway analogous to any of the states as they wish to do on the national stage.

    Secondly, you may wish to employ a more empathetic tone to your writings on this matter. Marriage-equality is about adult people with lives and aspirations and hopes and dreams. They are just like every other part of adult Australian society: they love, they nurture; they raise and care for children effectively; they are productive members of society. They are merely seeking societal recognition and legal protection for their relationships, as has happened in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, much of Scandinavia, and a significant part of the US. (Keeping gay and lesbian people, particularly youth, out in the legal cold only sends a message that they are not valued members of society. The toll this takes annually is awfully tragic.)

    Yes I understand that and I even endorse the thrust of the argument. However I think that some form Civil Unions would be a more achievable politically and even if it is not the ideal fro many advocates it will meet the practical needs of same sex couples.

    Further, polls consistently show a majority of Australians favour marriage equality, and this has been the case for some years now; additionally those under 30 years of age are very much in favour. If Australia’s federal parliament is not representing the populace in this regard, primarily because the parliament mostly comprises men over a certain age, then it is fair and reasonable for jurisdictions to bring about change through different means.

    Well call me an old codger (I’m in my late fifties) but I think that if you are so sure of societal support then lets put the matter to a plebiscite which I think would show that people are far more evenly divided on the matter.

    I applaud the ACT Government’s ongoing initiative, specifically because the many marriage ceremonies that happened in the ACT during the 5-day window showed that, yes, these couples are just like everyone else – plain and simple.

    Well I thought that it showed that the love and commitment of those couples was cruelly used and abused in a political stunt because I am sure that the activist in the ACT would have known that the stunt would soon be shot down by the high court.

    Finally, you may wish to know that up until 1961, marriage in Australia was handled through state and territory legislation.

    I know that Nigel but there was a very good reason that such powers were ceded to the Commonwealth, doing so ensured national consistency.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    those under 30 years of age are very much in favour

    And your point, Nigel, is ….. what exactly? Forgive me for sounding ‘old’, but I think that this country’s major decisions like the Marriage Act should not be determined by the wishes of ‘those under 30’, the vast majority of whom do not have fully formed brains.

  6. Iain, with respect, your frequently derogatory tone when you’re writing about this matter betrays your supposedly sympathetic view. Further, not everyone is aware of that supposedly sympathetic view – particularly in other forums – and it is next to impossible to conclude anything other than you being inherently hostile to the legal and societal needs of people in same-sex relationships.

    Ray, my point is quite a simple one: polls consistently show that a majority of Australians favour marriage reform, and this is especially so for people under thirty. Therefore change will happen, and it’ll probably happen sooner rather than later. Your comment about people under thirty not having ‘fully formed brains’ doesn’t warrant a response (but needless to say it is scientifically incorrect.)

  7. Iain Hall says:

    Nigel it saddens me greatly that so many Gay people have a hard time living their lives with grace and dignity, that so many young people who discover that they are Gay have a great deal of trouble reconciling their sexuality with the expectations of their families. I sincerely want to see all young people living happily with in their own skins no matter what their sexuality may be. The point here is that I am not “is next to impossible to conclude anything other than you being inherently hostile to the legal and societal needs of people in same-sex relationships.” I have repeatedly endorsed the administrative anti discrimination changes made by the Rudd government to ensure that same sex couples are treated the same as De-facto Hetero-couples those changes have ensured that pretty well all of the practical issues you allude to are well addressed in law. But when it comes to what you describe as “societal needs” I think that you are talking about the greater society affirming your sexuality and I just don’t think that changing the definition of marriage is going to make everyone endorse and approve of homosexuality. In fact I think that if such a change were to be made it would merely entrench prejudice and disdain that currently exists and add a whole new layer of resentment.

    Frankly the best way to make homosexuality more socially affirmed is for Gays and Lesbians just to live their lives openly and to demonstrate in the way that you live that there is nothing unusual in being Gay. Things have come an awful long way in my life time Nigel, From homosexuality being “the love that dare not speak its name” to it being , on the whole, no big deal how anyone expresses their sexuality.

    Finally I am an old codger with chronic pain that makes me very cynical, sarcastic and short tempered I spar over this and other issues for the distraction and to try to keep may brain in working order despite the narcotics that I have to take. I am also rather sure that you can’t rush through or force changes of social attitudes to sexuality and that changing the definition of marriage will not magically change those who despise homosexuality into people who whole heartedly celebrate it as a positive thing. I celebrate and endorse love in all of its forms Nigel, that is my bottom line even when I am being critical of the way that activists have been prosecuting their campaign as I am in this piece.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    A majority of Australians also favour the Coaltion govt who oppose changing the Marriage Act, Nigel, or at least they did on Sept 7. So how does that sit with your position that we should change the Act because (according to some sample opinion polls) ‘the majority’ favour some kind of reform? I would suggest the election was a far more reliable and authentic poll of the electorate’s thinking (not that I agree with them on their choice).

    I’d also suggest that of the ‘majority’ you speak of, a fair percentage of them would believe a separate Act for same sex marriage is the better way to go. The two things are not the same – the current Act deals only with heterosexual relationships and was never intended to include same sex ones. Ergo, it seems to me that it should be left alone and, if the ‘majority’ want to now allow gays to marry, let them do so under a new and separate Act. Problem solved.

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