A Great Ruling From The High Court


pic: DWZ

Amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the High Court has struck down the ill-advised ACT same-sex marriage act. The judges quite rightly held that the marriage act, which specifically reserves marriage for one man one woman unions, is the last word on the subject.

So dry your eyes. This is actually a brilliant outcome. Read the full decision here.

There was never any realistic chance the Court would do anything else, which leads some, including me, to wonder what Australian Marriage Equality was doing chasing down this dead end, and raising false hopes. Let’s hope this is the end of it.

The ACT government has said it will “battle on”. Please . . . . please don’t. You’re not helping.

Imagine if the Court had said yes to the ACT law. That would have made same-sex marriage legally different from, and unequal to, opposite-sex marriage. It would instantly have enshrined in law a segregation-style ‘separate but equal’ status. And separate but equal is, as we know, never equal in practice.

This is in fact the best possible outcome. The judges have ruled that the word ‘marriage’ in the constitution does cover same-sex marriages. If they had decided that it didn’t, federal parliament would have been unable to legislate marriage equality. The only way forward would have been a next-to-impossible constitutional amendment.

So a big sigh of relief. It is now clear that the only road is an amendment to the marriage act to remove the carbuncle stuck onto it by the unholy Labor-Coalition alliance of Howard and Roxon, and a change to the wording to allow the marriage of any two consenting adults. Period.

Let this also put an end to any temptation to throw trans and intersex people under the bus in order to curry favour with politicians. From here on in there can be no compromises: it’s marriage for all, or for none. We do NOT leave people behind. We all work together.

And that goes for Parliamentarians too. The Greens and Sarah Hanson-Young should not have leapt to introduce – yet again – their marriage bill. They should have waited until a new bill, carrying the names of Green, Labor and Liberal sitting members, could be introduced. From now on, marriage must never again be owned by any one section of politics, or any one party.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)