A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Australia government challenges day-old same-sex marriage law

Australia's Commonwealth government, led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, filed suit on Wednesday challenging the validity of the Marriage Equality Bill [materials] passed on Tuesday by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly [official website], legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. In a writ of summons filed with the country's High Court, the challenge claims that the new laws are inconsistent [SMH report] with Australia's Commonwealth Marriage Act and the Family Law Act. In response to the filing, Federal Attorney General George Brandis remarked on the level of distress [Bloomberg report] a challenge would cause to same-sex couples who would be married in the territory only to discover that their marriage was held invalid. The commonwealth government has requested a hearing to be scheduled for November 25.

In February an Australian judge ruled [JURIST report] that the nation's ban on same-sex marriage does not amount to gender discrimination, dismissing a challenge to the law. The ruling upholds the decision of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) [official website] to terminate the complaint of sex discrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 on the grounds that it was "misconceived and/or lacking in substance." In contrast, lawmakers in both France and the UK [JURIST reports] approved bills that would legalize same-sex marriage earlier in February. Likewise, advocates in the US continue to check off victories across the country as 14 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage, with New Jersey [JURIST report] being the most recent addition on Monday.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.