The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has put an end to the debate as the same-sex marriage bill passes into law. The bill will allow gay couples to marry in the country. Lawmakers supporting the bill were confident it will pass with the help of the Australian province's ruling party. The same-sex marriage bill was made into law despite opposing lawmakers vowing to block the bill. The same-sex marriage bill has passed 9 votes to 8.
The ACT will push for the legalisation of same-sex marriage despite the threat of a High Court challenge and the possibility of Prime Minister Tony Abbott overriding the decision. Federal Attorney General George Brandis has earlier threatened to challenge the validity of the same-sex marriage bill in the High Court if it will be passed as a law in Canberra, the national capital.
In 2004, the Australian federal law was amended to specifically indicate that only the marriage between man and woman shall be recognised.
Prime Minister Abbot is widely known to oppose gay marriage. The Coalition has rejected all federal bills that would lead to the legalization of gay marriage. However, Mr Abbott's sister has announced on national television that she is engaged to her partner of six years, Virginia Edwards.
The gay couple will not marry in other countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Ms Forster said they will wait until they can get married in Sydney, their hometown. She said her brother supported her gay relationship but they don't have the same views about same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, same-sex marriage advocates, Australian Marriage Equality said there were thousands of gay couples who have expressed their interest to get married in Canberra. If the legislation will pass, the first same-sex marriage in Australia could happen as soon as December.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said she had turned down a federal government request not to allow gay marriage until the High Court challenges the validity of the law. She told ABC radio that the debate on same-sex marriage has caught the interest of the majority, especially same-sex couples who plan to get married in Australia.
To contact the editor, e-mail: