Yesterday the High Court ruled that the Legislative Assembly of The Australian Capital Territory had passed a law which was unconstitutional. What is not quite as clear is why it was unconstitutional. Options are:
- There was some kind of flaw in the drafting of the ACT Legislation
- Only the Federal Government can ass such Legislation
- Only the Federal Government can make it possible for the States to pass such Legislation
Typically over time we have seen that Legislature is far more effective in dealing with matters of property, and less effective at dealing with moral issues, and hopeless inadequate at dealing with matters of relationships.
A significant number of Australians believe that in the current context gender differentiation is not the gateway to meaningful and worthwhile relationships , and for a large number of younger Australians this is simply a justice issue, whilst for a number of older Australians it is as a moral issue.
In law, same gender couples have effectively all the same rights as defacto opposite gender couples, and the meaningful distinction between married couples and couples who live together seems slight.
There is however the matter of decency and order, where the suggestion is that it is the same, is in fact some sort of second best, so we allow opposite gender couples to have marriages and same gender couples to have civil unions, there is an implied sense of discrimination. Perhaps the federal marriage act could be submitted to the Anti-Discrimination Ombudsperson to see how it fares there?
For the most part this whole hiatus seems a fraudulent waste of time and talent, though I am sure that there are a number of lawyers who have seen, and seized, the opportunity.
It would seem that this is not a political issue, it is a human (justice) issue being politicized. The time is now for the Federal Government to act to ensure that the Federal Marriage Act does not deny equity and justice to same gender couples.
Today my Sister and Sister in Law re-affirm the vows they made in the Marriage (legal) in Holland in July. This is not a political event, this is the warmth of a couple who are sharing their joy with friends and family, not all of whom could share the event in The Netherlands. It provides us as the community around them to opportunity to express our support for them as a married couple. Ultimately it is about love sharing and support.