the marriage act defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
On February 21, Federal Court of Australia Justice Jayne Jagot upheld the decision of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) dismissing a class suit brought by gay rights activist Simon Margan that alleged a lack of equal marriage laws amounting to gender discrimination against LGBTI people. The class suit was instituted in behalf of 64 complainants.
The AHRC junked the suit in July finding the complaint to be misconceived and lacking in substance. Justice Jagot in her ruling found that the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act was not discriminatory because it treated both genders equally, with neither gay men nor lesbians able to marry their same-sex partners. She puts it more plainly, “There cannot be discrimination by reason of the sex of a person because in all cases the treatment of the person of the opposite sex is the same.”
According to Justice Jagot, the redress available for Mr. Margan, if he and others would like to marry a person of the same sex, is in the political arena by amendment of the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act. Nevertheless, Mr. Margan intends to appeal to the full bend of the Federal Court.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome assailed the ruling saying that it is unnecessarily narrow. He also said, “A good marriage is about what’s in the partners’ hearts not what’s between their legs and it is wrong for the law to ignore this.”
The debate and petitions for allowing same sex marriages in Australia is still raging. This case is adding fuel to the fire as more and more protests are staged advocating for same sex marriage. In Australia, the most that is allowed of same sex couples is the recognition of a de facto relationship between them.
The Family Law Act Section 4AA states that a de facto relationship can exist between 2 persons of different sexes and between 2 persons of the same sex. The same law provides that de facto couples basically have the same rights as married couples. But for the LGBTI community and supporters of same sex marriages these concessions allowed by law are simply not enough.
Sources:Osturk, Serkan (2013, March 1).
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.