The Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) is disappointed with the outcome of the High Court of Australia’s decision that the Australian Capital Territory’s Marriage Equality (Same-Sex) Act 2013 is invalid.
While the decision was made on constitutional law grounds and not principles of equality, the effect is that Australian same-sex couples continue to be prohibited from having their relationships recognised in the same manner as other citizens. This diminishes all Australians, as we continue to live in a country with legally entrenched discrimination against some of our fellow citizens simply because of their sexual orientation.
AFA President, Michael Boyd, said “Equal treatment under the law is a fundamental principle of a fair society. There is no rational reason to discriminate against same-sex couples and deny them the legal and social benefits of marriage. History rightly calls those who opposed other major steps towards legal and social equality – such as voting rights for women and Aboriginals, the decriminalisation of homosexuality – bigots. History will do the same with those who now oppose equality for GBLT Australians.”
The ACT’s Marriage Equality Act was a welcome step towards equality, even though it was ultimately not successful. However, even if the Act had been declared valid it would not have been enough. Even in the ACT there would have been one law governing same-sex marriage and one law governing opposite-sex marriage. This cannot be true marriage equality. True marriage equality will only occur when the federal government amends the Marriage Act 1961 so it refers to a union of two people rather than a union of one man and one woman. The AFA looks forward to that day.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
PO Box 1062
Lane Cove NSW 1595
Phone: (08) 8835 2269