Advocates seek to defend same-sex marriage laws in High Court

Marriage equality advocates, defending laws allowing same-sex couples to marry, will tomorrow apply to intervene in the Australian Government’s attempt to strike down the ACT's new same-sex marriage laws in the High Court.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, Anna Brown, said as well as being the first real test of whether states and territories can legalise same-sex marriage, she was hopeful that the case will also clarify whether or not the Constitution permits the Federal Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage.

“If permitted to intervene, we will be arguing that both the Federal Parliament and state parliaments have the constitutional power to legislate for same-sex marriages and that the ACT’s new marriage laws should be allowed to stand,” Ms Brown said.

The HRLC is representing Australian Marriage Equality in an application to seek leave to appear as a “friend of the court” to provide specialist information to the hearing.

Ms Brown said that ultimately the case highlights the need for leadership by the Federal Government to ensure all Australians are equal before the law.

“Whatever the outcome of this case, it’s clear that the majority of Australians want the discrimination against same-sex couples to end. There is clearly a will in Australia for marriage equality, it’s up to our politicians to ensure there is a way,” said Ms Brown.

The High Court will decide whether to allow AME to appear at the start of the hearing which is scheduled to take place on Tomorrow and Wednesday in Canberra.

“It’s important that couples seeking to have their life-long commitment affirmed under a marriage law have their voices heard in this debate. Australian Marriage Equality can ensure that happens and our hope is that the Court will allow them to contribute to this case,” said Ms Brown.

Statements from same-sex couples about why this case is important to them can be found here:
Meg and Anne-Marie
Michelle and Leanne
Veronica and Krishna

Australian Marriage Equality is represented on a pro bono basis by Jeremy Kirk SC, and Perry Herzfeld of Counsel, the Human Rights Law Centre and law firm Allens.

For further information or comments contact:
Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, on 0422 235 522 or
Rodney Croome, National Director, Australian Marriage Equality, on 0409 010 668

To see AME's submission, click here.
Click here for AME’s media release