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Gay marriage ban is not sex discrimination, Australian judge rules

Federal court judge Jayne Jagot rules same-sex marriage ban is lawful as both sexes are treated equally
Protestor at a marriage equality rally in Australia last year

A judge ruled yesterday that the ban on same-sex marriage in Australia does not constitute sex discrimination.

Gay rights activist Simon Margan brought a legal challenge against the Australian government and the states of Queensland and New South Wales for not allowing same-sex marriage. 

Margan said he lodged the complaint on behalf of 'a number of homosexual and bisexual men and women and transgender and intersex persons' who experienced 'unlawful discrimination based on sex and marital status by reason of the inability of those persons to register same sex marriages'.

Justice Jayne Jagot ruled yesterday that the ban on same-sex marriage cannot be seen as sex discrimination because 'the treatment of the person of the opposite sex is the same'.

'Hence, a man cannot enter into the state of marriage as defined with another man just as a woman cannot enter into the state of marriage with another woman as defined,' said Jagot in her ruling.

Australian Marriage Equality (AME) said that the Federal Court's ruling shows that politicians should take action on same-sex marriage.

'If our courts feel powerless to remove discrimination the majority of Australians oppose then it's up to politicians to act,' said AME national director Rodney Croome.

'This issue has become a test of the capacity of Australia's democratic institutions to respond to popular and over due reform.'

Same-sex marriage bills were defeated in the Australian Senate and House of Representatives last year. 

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