Australian campaigners for marriage equality have said that the Australian Government's plans to challenge the Australian Capital Territory's (ACT) law allowing same-sex couples to marry will only prompt a flood of couples marrying in the territory.
'The Federal Government's plans do not come as a surprise. We are confident the law would survive a high court challenge,' Australian Marriage Equality Deputy Director Ivan Hinton said.
'This is based on the legal advice of constitutional experts, the ACT Solictor-General's opinion, the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into same-sex marriage, and the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute report. The only thing that is unclear is what is the basis of the Federal Governments challenge, with no legal advice or information being provided for scrutiny.'
Hinton said that a court challenge to the ACT law would take time - giving Australian couples a window of opportunity to legally marry in the ACT before the High Court made its decision on the law.
'Even if the the Federal Government can challenge the laws in the high court, they can not stop same-sex weddings from occurring once marriage equality becomes law,' Hinton said.
'This news will simply encourage more couples to marry sooner and join the ACT government in defending their right to legislate for this important reform. Same-sex couples don't want to pick a fight with the Federal Government, but they do want to celebrate marriage with their friends, families, and communities'
Hinton said Australian Marriage Equality would do everything to support the ACT Government in defending their marriage equality law, and GSN understands the progressive activist group GetUp also intends to mobilize its 600,000 plus membership to defend the ACT's right to legislate for itself.
The Australian Government's plan to stop same-sex marriage in the ACT will be the focus of a protest action in Sydney tomorrow, starting at the Sydney Town Hall at 1pm which will be the first such action since the new Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, took office.
'Now the Liberal government wants not just to keep its own laws in the dark ages, but to prevent any other government from moving into the 21st century,' protest organizer and co-convenor of the group Community Action Against Homophobia Cat Rose said.
'This is a government headed by a man who has said he is "threatened" by homosexuality.
'Now his government wants to quash the ACT government's plans to pass equal rights - all for what? So that he and his Liberal friends don't have to drive past two men or two women tying the knot on the lawns of Old Parliament House one day?'
CAAH co-convener Karl Hand said it was now 'game on' in the fight for same-sex marriage in Australia.
'Opposing marriage equality itself is bad enough, but for this federal government to interfere in state based rights is simply petty and vindictive - and makes the reactionary character of this new right wing government absolutely clear,' Hand said
'If Tony Abbott wants a fight, he's got one! And we intend to win.'