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.

5. Australian Greens Leader and Senator for Tasmania showed her support after the ACT Legislature passed the Marriage Equality Same Sex Act 2013.

6. The bill was passed by 9 votes to 8 with the support of the Labor Government and its one Greens member.

Result of division, ayes 9 nos 8 therefore Ayes have it. yeah!

— Christine Milne (@senatormilne)

7. The public gallery burst into song after the law was passed:

"love is in the air" sung in public gallery was perfect way to finish a historic morning in the Legislative Assembly #MarriageEquality

— Katy Gallagher MLA (@KatyGMLA)

ACT #MarriageEquality Bill (as amended) passes the Assembly The public gallery bursts in to song Love is in the air! #Canberra

— Andrew Barr (@ABarrMLA)

9. In Australia people celebrated:

Celebrating the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill 2013 with a long time friend #Canberra

— Mary Porter AM MLA (@MaryPorterMLA)

Holy crap! The ACT (where I live) just passed the Same Sex Marriage bill. #goodjobcanberra #rainbowstate

— Mikey Pace (@Pacey4324)

Always proud to be a Canberran, but today its especially great. Kudos to the ACT Government for legalising gay marriage. Woohoo!

— Jacqui Garrity (@jacquigarrity)

Same sex marriage bill passes today in #ACT. Congratulations to all in community + politics who worked so hard on this! #marriageequality

— David Pocock (@pocockdavid)

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