Caught in the ACT: Battle for same-sex marriage in Australia


Polls within Australia show that almost two out of three Australians believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized. Within the midst of this growing public support for marriage equality, people are watching what’s happening in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) over the next few days. This is because the ACT Government is moving towards historic legislation that will allow same-sex couples from all over Australia to marry in the ACT.

However, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott still questions the legitimacy of states to legalize same-sex marriage.

Prime Minister Abbott said: “What the states do is a matter for the states. The constitution provides that marriage is a responsibility of the Commonwealth parliament. And as you know the Commonwealth parliament recently voted on this subject and by a fairly decisive margin decided to stick with the existing Marriage Act.”

Nevertheless, advocates of marriage equality, such as Australian Marriage Equality, have congratulated the ACT Government ahead of this imminent passage of their historic legislation. The battle for same-sex marriage between the states and the Commonwealth is therefore heating up.

Deputy director of Australian Marriage Equality and ACT resident Ivan Hinton, said: “The ACT is just days away from making history and embracing a reform that has become an aspiration for all Australians that value fairness and equality.

“From 10am next Tuesday eyes from around the nation and the world will be watching as Canberra becomes the most inclusive place in Australia for same-sex couples.

“We know thousands of same-sex couples from across Australia have indicated their interest in marrying in the ACT and these weddings will begin soon after the bill passes, regardless of any Federal Government intervention.

“We hope that ACT Liberal MLA’s who support the gay and lesbian community will join Labor and the Greens in voting to make history.”

On the day, the ACT Government will broadcast a live feed on their website.

Images | Shutterstock | Harishrawat11

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