Gay marriage law in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has been overturned by the Australia High Court, just a few days in.
Following the news that the Indian Supreme Court has ruled to re-criminalise gay sex, another country is joining the growing list of backwards steps towards LGBT inequality.
In October this year ACT, which is an area of land between Sydney and Melbourne in the south-east and houses the capital city of Canberra, ruled that same-sex marriages would be legal in their state. This bold move was the first of it’s kind in Australia and had been much celebrated amongst the LGBT community with 27 couples taking the marriage vow since the law commenced last weekend.
With the Australian High Court overturning the ACT law, all 27 marriages that have taken place so far will now be invalid, leaving couples and families distraught.
BBC News reports, ‘Ivan Hinton, who had married his partner Chris Teoh on Saturday, tearfully told reporters: “In less than a week we’ve been married and we’ve been unmarried, at least on a legal level.”
“We’re still married,” he added. “I’ve made commitments to Chris to spend the rest of my life with him.”
With Sydney Mardi Gras, a highlight of Australia’s LGBT calendar, coming up in February, it may be set to be more politically charged than ever.
The federal government challenged the law because it deemed the law inconsistant with the Australian Constitution, which states that the Marriage Act 1961 is a union between a man and a woman.
Speaking about the overturning Human Rights Campaigner Australian born Peter Tatchell said:
‘This is a hugely disappointing setback in the battle for marriage equality in Australia. A majority of Australians support the right of gay couples to marry, yet politicians and the courts are resisting equal marriage,
‘It’s surprising that a supposedly democratic and progressive country like Australia is still insisting on discrimination against gay couples in marriage law. This court decision will delay but not halt the inevitability of marriage equality. It’s a global trend and Australia, for now, remains on the wrong side of history.’