It is not a good week for international gays. First India bans gay sex now Australia has overturned a new law that had allowed same-sex couples to marry since Sunday. For those over two dozen couples who tied the knot, their unions will be invalidated.
“I don’t want to be unmarried this afternoon,” Ivan Hinton, who had married his partner Chris Teoh in the capital of Canberra, said outside the High Court Thursday.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), a small self-governing territory in Australia that includes national capital Canberra, passed a marriage equality law independent of the federal government last month. The High Court, however, unanimously ruled that the ACT law conflicted with the 2004 federal Marriage Act, which restricted marriage to a man and woman. Marriage, the court said, is a matter to be decided by the national parliament.
While neighboring island-nation New Zealand smoothly passed marriage equality back in April — it even included a song, you guys — efforts to pass similar legislation in Australia have been rebuffed by Prime Minister and noted stick-in-the-mud Tony Abbott. Abbott and his coalition of the unwilling blocked two pieces of marriage equality legislation last year, but this latest defeat has only emboldened Aussie activists and LGBTs.
“This is just a temporary defeat,” said Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome. “What is far more important is that the ACT’s law facilitated the first same-sex marriage on Australian soil and showed the nation the love and commitment of same-sex couples.”
As for Ivan hinton and Christ Teoh, though their marriage will be annulled, Hinton said he will always consider Teoh his husband and that he wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to marry him “for the world.”