Same-sex couples are likely to begin marrying in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) before the end of the year after the ACT Government announced it would pass a bill allowing same-sex marriage at a territory level next Tuesday.
The ACT will do so despite threats by the Australian Government to take the territory to the High Court of Australia over the law to seek to have it declared unconstitutional.
Heterosexual marriages have been regulated nationally since the passing of the 1961 Marriage Act but before that time were governed by state laws and the ACT bill has been designed to survive court challenge.
Australian advocates for same-sex marriage have congratulated the ACT Government for standing firm in the face of threats to intervene in its ability to govern itself.
‘The ACT is just days away from making history and embracing a reform that has become an aspiration for all Australians that value fairness and equality,’ Australian Marriage Equality deputy director and ACT resident Ivan Hinton said.
‘From 10am next Tuesday eyes from around the nation and the world will be watching as Canberra becomes the most inclusive place in Australia for same-sex couples.
‘We know thousands of same-sex couples from across Australia have indicated their interest in marrying in the ACT and these weddings will begin soon after the bill passes, regardless of any Federal Government intervention.
‘We hope that ACT Liberal MLA's who support the gay and lesbian community will join Labor and the Greens in voting to make history.’
Australian Marriage Equality has established an online wedding registry for couples seeking to marry in the ACT and hope to have thousands marry before a High Court challenge can be heard.
The Upper House of the Australian state of Tasmania also plans to debate a bill allowing same-sex marriage at a state level in two weeks time, so that state could well be marrying same-sex couples before the end of the year.
The ACT Government will broadcast a live feed of the historic vote on their website on Tuesday.