I am very disappointed in today's decision of the High Court to strike down the ACT's marriage equality laws. It’s a saddening contrast to the celebration of love and commitment we saw in Canberra on the weekend as many joyous couples made their vows.
However, this is just a temporary defeat. There are positive outcomes from the ruling, one of which is that the decision makes it clear that the Federal Parliament does have the capacity to legislate for marriage equality. Secondly, the ruling also leaves it open for Australian States and Territories to legislate provided their laws do not overlap with Federal law in the way the ACT law does.
This means that WA Labor in its commitment to introduce a private members bill on Marriage equality will need to follow the lead of New South Wales and Tasmania and carefully distinguish their laws from the Commonwealth Marriage Act so as not to overlap.
It’s also significant that today’s decision has invigorated discussion among Federal MPs including a focus on Tony Abbott’s election commitment that he would allow the Coalition Party room to debate allowing their MPs a conscience vote.
Earlier this week I joined with Senators Sue Boyce from the Coalition and Sarah Hanson Young from the Greens to form a cross party group to advance Marriage equality in the Australian Parliament.
It is vital that Australians in support of marriage equality understand that irrespective of the High Court's decision there are many parliamentarians from across the Parliament in our who will remain committed to ensuring that all Australians will have access to equal marriage in the future.
It’s why we have made a commitment to working together to move the Parliament to majority support for marriage equality, just as there is majority support in the community.
Media contact: Louise Pratt +61 417 175 220