Australia rejects same-sex marriage bill

Anthony Cuesta | February 12, 2007

SYDNEY — Federal government in Australia said no to a proposal that would allow gay marriage. The government was worried minors would get married under the bill, according to Attorney General Philip Ruddock.

This is the second time the Commonwealth has rejected the Australian Capital Territory Bill. The first time was last June. The reason the government gave that time was that they were concerned it would ruin marriage as an institution.

The Australian Capital Territory government changed the bill’s phrasing—using the words “civil partnership” instead of “civil union” – but that did not change the mind of the Attorney General.

"I indicated [to ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell] that while a number of changes had been made, there still remained significant issues that likened the civil unions to marriage that the Commonwealth found unacceptable," Ruddock said to the Australian Sunday Times.

Mr. Ruddock was especially disturbed by the fact that children under 18 would have been allowed to get married under this bill.

"The civil unions could have been simply arrangements for adults, but they were specifically modified to include those who were below the age of 18 years where parental consent or the consent of a court was obtained," he said to the Australian Sunday Times.

He was also upset that, under the bill, same-sex couples would be allowed to have traditional wedding ceremonies, like straight couples do. He believes this would hurt the straight marriage ceremony.

"What's wrong with a simple system of registration that other states have put in place?" he said to the publication.

ACT Labor senator Kate Lundy asked Mr. Ruddock to rethink the issue.

"Quite simply, the ACT Government should be allowed to make laws with respect to same-sex couples as it is entitled to do under the ACT Self-Government Act," Senator Lundy said to the publication. "I think this is blatant discrimination and, hence, blatant hypocrisy from the minister [Mr. Ruddock]." – Issued by Gay Link Content

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