Australia: Marriage Equality. The State, The Constitution, The Territories.

Written by scott on October 21st, 2013

Australia MapMarriage equality is now inevitable in the ACT by the end of the year!

The following points underline the areas where changes need to be undertaken in order to finalise the introduction of Marriage Equality:

·   our constitution
·   the legal definition of marriage
·   the inconsistency of laws between states
·   and the cherry on top; the extra complication of the territories.

Remember Proposition 8 in California? Well, we could be in the same rainbow boat if the Commonwealth overrides the law in the ACT.

It could mean that couples who marry at the end of the year before the potential commonwealth over-ride, their status of ‘married’ could essentially be revoked leaving a bitter taste to those who are ‘equally wed’.

Some notable points held within the AME’s recent blog post: “Can the Commonwealth override the ACT on marriage equality?”  As far as understanding how all the rules & regulations vary from state to federal to the territories, it’s certainly confusing!

1)   The Constitution lists specific powers which the Commonwealth Parliament may exercise. They include the power to make laws with respect to “marriage” and “divorce and matrimonial causes”. But these are not exclusive powers.

2)   However, if the state law is inconsistent with the Commonwealth law, then the Commonwealth law prevails and the state law becomes inoperative to the extent of the inconsistency.

3)   Added to this mix of interpretative issues is the fact that the ACT is a territory, rather than a state. It derives all its legislative power from the Commonwealth, as well as limitations on its legislative power.

I hope that tomorrow as l sit glued to the internet broadcast, a sense of achievement for the nation occurs and then we can all head to Oxford St for a glass of champagne sweeties!

For further information see the Australian Marriage Equality article.

Marry Me Gay is a guest blogger for Purple Unions.
We are the premier resource for same-sex marriage in Australia & New Zealand, products & services.


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