Australia’s highest court strikes down same-sex marriage law

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Ivan Hinton, right, gives his partner Chris Teoh a kiss after taking their wedding vows during a ceremony at Old Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Dozens of same-sex couples from all around the country took advantage of the Australia Capital Territory's new law allowing same-sex marriages. But the unions will be short lived: The High Court overturned the law on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.
Ivan Hinton, right, gives his partner Chris Teoh a kiss after taking their wedding vows during a ceremony at Old Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Dozens of same-sex couples from all around the country took advantage of the Australia Capital Territory's new law allowing same-sex marriages. But the unions will be short lived: The High Court overturned the law on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.

Australia’s highest court struck down a landmark law on Thursday that had begun allowing the country’s first gay marriages, shattering the dreams of more than two dozen same-sex newlyweds whose marriages will now be annulled less than a week after their weddings.

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The federal government had challenged the validity of the Australian Capital Territory’s law that had allowed gay marriages in the nation’s capital and its surrounding area starting last Saturday.

The federal government’s lawyer had argued that having different marriage laws in various Australian states and territories would create confusion. The ACT, which passed the law in October, said it should stand because it governs couples outside the federal definition of marriage as being between members of the opposite sex.

The High Court unanimously ruled that the ACT’s law could not operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act, which was amended in 2004 to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

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“The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same sex couples. The Marriage Act provides that a marriage can be solemnised in Australia only between a man and a woman,” the court said in a statement issued alongside its ruling. “That Act is a comprehensive and exhaustive statement of the law of marriage.”

Rodney Croome, national director of the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, said his group knows of about ….

 

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