Lawmakers in Tasmania have rejected a
proposed bill which sought to legalize gay marriage in the Australian
The measure cleared the state's lower
house of Parliament last month.
But members of the upper chamber, the
Legislative Council, raised questions about the proposal's
constitutionality last night. Eight of its 15 members signaled their
opposition to the measure, though a final vote was delayed.
Marriage in Australia is regulated by
the federal government. However, Labor Premier Lara Giddings had
argued that states could enact such legislation because the marriages
of gay and lesbian couples are currently not regulated by the
government's Marriage Act.
Former state chief justice Bill Cox
intervened on behalf of opponents, saying the legislation would
likely be struck down in court.
“Any such legislation would create a
minefield in respect of rights, and make Tasmania a legal laughing
stock,” Cox is quoted as saying by the
Times. “It is foolish to enact legislation which
has a strong chance of being declared invalid.”
Proponents said they would look to the
states after federal lawmakers rejected a gay marriage bill earlier
Senate joins House in rejecting gay marriage bill.)