“This is devastating for those couples who married this week and for their families,” said Rodney Croome, the national director of the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality. “However, this is just a temporary defeat.”
Australian gay rights activists said their fight would now shift to lobbying the national parliament to change federal legislation and momentum for this is already gathering. The ruling is significant in that it makes it clear that the Commonwealth does have the power to legislate on same-sex marriage in Australia.
This new strategy to address marriage inequality on a federal level is one of a number of developments for LGBTI rights in the Asia-Pacific region. On the plus side there was the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Zealand in 2013. However, in stark contrast India’s top court ruled in December 2013 that sex between consenting homosexual partners is illegal in the country, prompting dismay from human rights groups. This change followed an amendment to surrogacy laws that also impacted negatively on same-sex couples, effectively stopping same-sex couples from accessing surrogacy services in India.