First Australian Jurisdiction Passes Marriage Equality

Same-sex couples will be able to marry in the Australian Capital Territory under legislation passed Tuesday in support of marriage equality. Federal government officials have already said, though, that they will oppose the measure in court.

Brandon Dill / Via AP

The new law passed today by the ACT Legislature is the first time such laws have been passed in Australia and it opens a way for the first same-sex couples’ marriages to take place in December.

The law, though, already is headed for a High Court challenge by the national government, led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Late amendments were added Monday to strengthen the laws against challenge. The law covers same-sex couples only, while heterosexual couples remain covered under the Federal Marriage Act, which lawmakers hope will allow the law to avoid any constitutional conflict.

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