UK & World News
Australia: Gay Marriage Law Reversed By Court
Australia's highest court has repealed a law permitting gay marriage - meaning dozens of couples face having their weddings annulled within days of the nuptials.
Around 30 same-sex couples had tied the knot since the Australian Capital Territory passed the legislation last Saturday governing Canberra and its surrounding area.
But the federal government argued the law could not operate alongside the federal Marriage Act, which was amended in 2004 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
The High Court unanimously upheld the challenge, and issued a statement saying: "The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same-sex couples.
"The Marriage Act provides that a marriage can be solemnised in Australia only between a man and a woman. That Act is a comprehensive and exhaustive statement of the law of marriage."
Rodney Croome, national director of the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, said his group knows of about 30 same-sex couples who have married since Saturday, though the actual number may be slightly higher.
Outside the court in Canberra, a tearful Mr Croome said the ruling was a defeat for marriage equality, but there had been a greater victory this week.
"And that victory was the nation saw for the first time, I believe, what is really at the core of this issue - they've seen that marriage equality is not about protest or politics or even about laws in the constitution, ultimately," he said.
"Marriage equality is about love, commitment, family and fairness."
Among the couples upset by the ruling are Ivan Hinton and Chris Teoh, who were married on Saturday.
The pair received their marriage certificate on Wednesday and immediately applied to change their surnames to Hinton-Teoh.
Mr Hinton insisted he did not regret getting married and said he would consider Mr Teoh his husband anyway.
"This was an unprecedented and historic opportunity," he said.
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Lyle Shelton, managing director of Australian Christian Lobby, praised the court ruling and said common sense had prevailed.
As for newly-weds affected by the ruling, she said it was "really sad that they were put in a position".
Prime Minister Tony Abbott opposes gay marriage and his coalition blocked two federal bills last year that would have allowed legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.
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