ACT News

Same sex marriage: ACT Legislative Assembly debates laws

That's were we'll leave the live coverage. But we'll continue to keep you across the story today as supporters, commentators and those opposed react to the passing of the bill.

You can stay up to date via the homepage and you can read a wrap of how the debate unfolded here.

Thank you for joining us.

Lisa Cox

There have been tears ad hugs as marriage equality supporters celebrate the passage of the bill. Some have held up rainbow-coloured "thank you signs.''

Under a "pair'' arrangement, Liberal MLA Andrew Wall abstained to allow Ms Porter to leave the chamber.

Law professor George Williams says the ACT Marriage Equality Bill fills in the gaps not covered by federal marriage law, and so will authorise not only same-sex people to marry but also transgender and intersex people.

You can read his opinion piece here.

High Court awaits same-sex marriage legislation

According to constitutional law expert Professor George Williams, the legal challenge to the ACT marriage equality legislation will be a question of federalism not human rights.

Social media reaction to the bill's passing is coming thick and fast.

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Actually that final vote was eight votes to seven, because Labor MLA Mary Porter had to step out of the chamber.

Lisa Cox

Supporters singing "love is in the air''.

And the historic same-sex marriage bill passes the ACT Legislative Assembly by eight votes to seven.

Lisa Cox

Mr Rattenbury says the government will continue to consider all the legal advice. Can we expect more amendments after the bill is passed?

Liberals are opposing a bid by Labor for last-minute amendments to be debated. Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson says the 25 amendments should have been sent to the scrutiny of bills committee before being considered by the full chamber.

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Assembly votes by nine votes to eight to give in-principle support for the bill. Now on to the detail stage of the debate.

Lisa Cox

The Assembly is now voting on whether to support the bill "in-principle''. Assuming the vote passes, they will then discuss the details of the bill.


Mr Corbell says "no one should believe the myth of separate but equal'', referring to segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa.


Mr Corbell is now outlining amendments designed to reduce the chances of the bill being declared unconstitutional.

Some marriage equality advocates believe more amendments are required to reduce the chances of the High Court throwing out the law.

Mr Corbell says the ACT law can operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act.

"It is not a challenge to the Commonwealth's power to legislate for marriage.''


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Mr Corbell compares the inability of same-sex couples to past discrimination against women. He points out that  women were long denied the right to vote.

"This demonstrates the absurdity of the situation we are in.''

Mr Corbell says the government is determined to push ahead with the reform.

''No legal contrivance will turn us from this purpose.''

Mr Corbell says Australia cannot be a civillised country if people were bound by laws that discriminated against them.


Labor MLAs Yvette Berry and Mick Gentleman have also spoken in support of the bill.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell is now summing up before amendments are discussed.


On the assumption that this bill becomes law - and barring a big last-minute surprise it will - it is heading for the High Court.

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has confirmed the Abbott government will challenge their constitutional validity.

Of course, marriage equality advocates say a new report from Tasmania shows states and territories do have constitutional power to legislate for same-sex marriage.

Senator George Brandis.
Senator George Brandis. Photo: Steven Siewert
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