Disappointment as High Court overturns same-sex marriage law

LOCAL gay marriage advocates are disappointed by the High Court decision to strike out the ACT’s same-sex marriage laws, but hope it will pave the way for a change to federal legislation.

The High Court yesterday overturned the laws by a unanimous verdict, declaring that only the federal parliament had the power to a legislate on same-sex marriage.

Koby Bunney, from Equal Love Ballarat, said the decision was not unexpected, however it was still a “kick in the guts”.

“Tony Abbott wanted this to be a federal issue and now he’s got it. He can’t procrastinate any more,” he said.

Mr Bunney said watching people get married in the ACT when the laws were still valid gave him the belief it could one day happen for him. 

“I thought it was a possibility for the first time. It was a really weird thing for me. There was that little glimmer of hope,” he said.

Mr Bunney said the recent creation of an Equal Love committee in Ballarat would mean more local protests in favour of same-sex marriage.

Civil celebrant Ron Egeberg said he had been approached by a couple who wanted him to marry them under the ACT laws, however that didn’t happen before the High Court decision.

He said even if the ACT changes had been upheld, they would not have brought true marriage equality, as the laws would not have been recognised nationally.

“The High Court has stated that we really need one marriage act,” he said.

“Marriage equality is a basic human right. We want to seen it done the right way.”

Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan said any decision on the definition of marriage needed to go before the public via a referendum.

 tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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