History was made today with the passage in the ACT Assembly of the momentous Marriage Equality Same-Sex Bill. My congratulations to my ACT Labor colleagues and all those who helped make this win happen.
Member for Fraser
TUESDAY 22 OCTOBER 2013
Andrew Leigh welcomes milestone ACT same-sex marriage law
Federal Labor Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh, has congratulated his Australian Capital Territory colleagues for the successful passage today of the trailblazing Marriage Equality Same-Sex Bill.
“The irony is that this bill is only possible because the Howard Government amended the federal Marriage Act in 2004, restricting it to cover only heterosexual marriage.
“As a result, today’s ACT bill simply fills in the gap – allowing same-sex marriages by ACT couples.”
Dr Leigh said the federal Attorney General’s plan to challenge the ACT law in the High Court is “mean-spirited”.
“There’s nothing in the Constitution that says states and territories can’t pass laws on marriage. In fact, until the 1960s, marriage was principally a state and territory matter.
“A High Court challenge like this is extremely unusual, and would normally come from a private citizen, not the federal government.
“This legal challenge is a diversion from what is fundamentally a political issue. If the Abbott Government wants to try and quash this law, then same-sex marriage should be debated in the federal parliament with the Liberal Party allowing its members a conscience vote, not binding them as it did last time around.”
Dr Leigh urged Australian conservatives to look to their friends in Britain and New Zealand where same-sex marriage has been passed by conservative governments.
“I am reminded of the words of conservative Maurice Williamson who said during the debate in Wellington ‘I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill right now… The sun will still rise tomorrow…You will not have skin diseases or rashes or toads in your bed. The world will just carry on’.”
“What the ACT has done is simply allow two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage. It isn’t going to weaken heterosexual marriages like mine. This is going to make us stronger as a society.
“George Brandis calls himself a small-L liberal, but I’m concerned that one of his top priorities is to attempt to tear up ACT same-sex marriage certificates. Instead, Senator Brandis should be celebrating with the many same-sex couples in the ACT who can now wed their loved ones.” said Dr Leigh
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