In open contempt for the constitution's unequivocal, single word allocation of responsibility for "marriage" to the federal government, gay activists have tried (and failed) to legislate gay marriage in Tasmania this week - see HERE - and now plan to have a go in the other Greens-Left state of South Australia - see today's Australian:
SOUTH Australia is the next battleground for gay-marriage activists after Tasmanian upper-house MPs voted down a bill to allow same-sex marriages.
The South Australian parliament will early next year debate a bill legalising same-sex unions, in a move supported by Labor Premier Jay Weatherill. A private member's bill, co-sponsored by openly gay Social Inclusion Minister Ian Hunter and Greens MP Tammy Franks, is before the state's upper house. It could result in South Australia becoming the first state to legalise gay marriage, after the Tasmanian upper house on Thursday night rejected a similar bill, in an eight-to-six vote.
Mr Hunter, who will travel to Spain in January to marry his long-time partner, artist Leith Semmens, said he was optimistic his bill would be passed in the upper house when he returned. He said that, in the wake of the Tasmanian decision, he expected the legislation to immediately become the first gay marriage laws to be tested in the High Court.
"There are a number of organisations opposed to gay marriage and I think one of them might bring legal action," Mr Hunter said yesterday. " We're not going to be happy about this until we've actually got this changed at the federal level." A legal challenge from the Gillard government was unlikely, he said.
Mr Weatherill has allowed a conscience vote for Labor members on the bill. South Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young yesterday called on the Gillard government to rule out launching any High Court challenges if a state passes gay marriage laws.
Of course, the Government has an obligation to prevent this open contempt for constitutional order, and must challenge any illegitimate 'state marriage' legislation. One Tasmanian MP stated the obvious:
MLC for Windermere Ivan Dean, who voted against the bill, says marriage equality is a Commonwealth issue. "That's where it should be determined, in that area," he says. "It is not for the states to do that."
Mr Dean says there needs to be uniform laws across the country. "It is nonsense in my opinion to think that you could have some different laws in this state in relation to same-sex marriage, then go to another state where the laws are not consistent," he says.
The MLC for Windermere was unconvinced by advice from Constitutional lawyer Professor George Williams that the Marriage Act allows for states to make their own laws. "Mr Williams made it very clear to us during briefings that there was a lot of uncertainty about this legislation," he says. "He could not say that a High Court challenge would not be successful."
Of interest in the ongoing public debate: the President of AMF, Dr David van Gend, will be joining Sydney Uni politics student Patrick Langrell in a debate / forum against the above-mentioned Prof George Williams and the head of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, at Macquarie University Monday 8th October around 1pm - details to follow. Then again the next day at UNSW about 1pm, just with Alex Greenwich.
Which goes to show that AMF and other defenders of natural marriage-and-family will have to keep honing the public argument against abolishing the objective meaning of marriage. Do feel free to tip some spare change into our DONATIONS tin, to enable us to match these well-funded organisations like AME.