Same-sex couples will begin marrying in Australia on Saturday
December 03, 2013
Today, the High Court in Australia announced that it will reserve judgment on a freedom to marry law passed earlier this year in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) for Thursday, December 12. Since the legislation declares that the freedom to marry will take effect in the ACT beginning December 7, the High Court's decision means that couples will be able to legally marry this Saturday.
The ACT is the first territory in Australia where same-sex couples will be able to marry.
This will be a great day for same-sex couples, their families and all Australians who support this important reform. Australian same-sex partners will be able to marry the person they love in the country they love. Regardless of the High Court’s final decision, the entire nation will witness the profound love and commitment same-sex couples share.
The marriage legislation was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly in late October. The law's validity was quickly challenged by the Commonwealth.
Advocates in Australia are uncertain whether the High Court will stand on the Right Side of History next week - but even if they do not, the five days of the freedom to marry in the ACT will serve as an important reminder that marriage matters - and that when the freedom to marry is extended to same-sex couples, no one is hurt, while the couples who marry are helped.
16 countries currently have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, and France - while New Zealand and Britain have passed laws that have yet to take effect. Two others have taken regional steps to allow same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry in parts of the country: Mexico and the United States. If the ACT's law is validated, Australia will become the third where same-sex couples can marry in some parts of the country.