The Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
on Tuesday approved a gay marriage bill, making it Australia's first
jurisdiction to do so.
“There is no longer any excuse, if
there ever was, to discriminate against same-sex couples in our
community,” Katy Gallagher, chief minister of the ACT, told
lawmakers. “They are our children, our parents, our brothers, our
sisters, our business people, our mentors and our colleagues.”
“More than anything, they are our
equals. The Marriage Equality Act puts this fundamental principle
and human right into law,” she added.
Gay and lesbian couples in the
territory could marry as early as December.
But Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose
conservative Liberal-National coalition swept into power on September
7 on a pledge to lower taxes, warned last month that the federal
government would mount a High Court challenge to the legislation.
New South Wales (NSW) is also debating
legalizing gay nuptials.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's gay sister engaged to marry.)