Australia Strikes Down Law Recognizing Same-Sex Unions
By Gudrun Schultz
CANBERRA, Australia, June 13, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Australian government has followed through on its pledge to quash a law recognizing same-sex unions in the Australian Capital Territory.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock drew on rarely used Commonwealth authority Tuesday, asking Governor-General Michael Jeffrey,ÂAustralia’s representativeÂof QueenÂElizabeth II, whoÂis Australia’s officialÂhead of state under the terms of the nation’s consitutional monarchy,Âto declare the law invalid.
“The ACT civil relationships ordinance has been disallowed,” Mr Ruddock told reporters in Canberra. “Legislative amendments introduced to establish a civil arrangement for same-sex parties and others in the ACT will no longer be law.”
The ACT voted last month to grant civil union status to same-sex couples, effectively giving them access to all of the rights and benefits granted to married couples, but stopping just short of bestowing the term “marriage.”
The Prime Minister said last week that the ACT’s law was an attempt to undermine the 2004 Federal Marriage Act that formally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“Our view is very simple. We are not prepared to accept something which is a plain attempt to equate civil unions with marriage,” he told reporters.
The ACT government hastened the date on which the law would become effective, bringing it forward to June 25, in an attempt to allow the first civil union to take place before the Commonwealth could act.Â Attorney-General Ruddock said the ACT government had acted provocatively by crafting the same-sex marriage law to closely resemble marriage.
“The marriage power is clearly vested in the commonwealth and to do so by not only reference to it having all the like characteristics of a marriage in terms of the ACT law, providing as it did for civil celebrants for a ceremony and adopting other characteristics of marriage, was quite provocative,” Mr. Ruddock said.
“We have no quarrel with the territory’s legislating in those areas in which it has responsibility, and we accept the decisions they make supported by their electorate—except when they provocatively and deliberately seek to intrude into areas for which they have no responsibility,” he said.
The Governor General can strike down laws passed by Australia’s two territories, the ACT and the Northern territory, within six months of the law’s passage.
See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Australian Government Will Overrule Gay “Marriage” Law
First Australian Territory to Grant All Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Unions