Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender
Read about Australia's ban
marriage and how more Australians
support same-sex marriage than oppose it.
Read about the Federal
Discrimination against same sex couples in Australia.
Read about transsexual
marriage in Australia.
Marcus Einfield's speech dedicating the gay and lesbian
Read CCL's submission on equalising
the age of consent in NSW.
CCL calls for an end to same-sex discrimination
June 2007: CCL
called on the federal Attorney-General to end discrimination against
same-sex couples and families
Australia. CCL welcomes the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission's
report which identified 58 pieces of legislation that violate the rights of
gay and lesbian Australians.
Read more about the Federal
Discrimination against same sex couples in Australia.
Read how the majority
of Australians support same-sex marraige and an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians in
CCL supports same-sex marriage
Sydney (Wednesday, 27 October 2004):
At the Annual General Meeting of the NSW Council for Civil
Liberties, the following motion was passed unanimously:
That the NSW CCL, acknowledging the fundamental
civil right of equality before the law, supports the rights
of gay, lesbian and transgender people to marry under Australian
law other adult people of their choosing and opposes any
legal restriction on the right to marry and consequent
legal rights and privileges on the grounds of sex or sexuality
of the parties to the marriage.
(Annual General Meeting, 27th October
Australian Parliament bans same-sex
Canberra (Friday, 13 August 2004):
The Australian Labor Party joined with the government
to pass the Marriage Amendment Bill through the Senate
the Bill introduces yet another piece of federal legislation
that discriminates against Australia's gay and lesbian
community, by denying them the ability to marry in Australia
and denying recognition of their marriages solemnised in
more enlightened nations like Canada.
The Bill is a
subset of the provisions contained in the Marriage
Amendment Legislation Bill, which was still before
Committee at the time. The Committee received
over 16,000 submissions.
Many MPs and citizens were outraged that the Senate would pass this legislation before the
Committee had reported its findings.
The Senate has since abandoned this inquiry (more...).
Plans to challenge in the Federal Court the federal government's
failure to recognise same-sex marriages solemnised overseas
The new discriminatory provisions in the Marriage
Act 1961 (Cth) are:
marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion
of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
- the explicit denial of recognition of foreign same-sex
marriages in section
A union solemnised in a foreign country between:
(a) a man and another man; or
(b) a woman and another woman;
must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.
Why the moral panic?
The move by the ALP to pass the discriminatory defintion
of marriage was a shock to many human rights advocates
across the country,
it would wait to read a report, then being prepared by
a Senate committee, before
voting on the legislation. Despite this promise, shadow
Attorney-General, Ms Nicola
Roxon, told a meeting of 1000 right-wing Christians in
Parliament House that the ALP would vote to ban same-sex
marriage. The Bill was passed within
Why the moral panic? Holland
introduced same-sex marriage in April 2001, followed
by Belgium in 2003. In 2004 provincial
Canadian courts began to rule that the exclusively heterosexual
definition of marriage is discriminatory and unjustifiable
in a free and democratic society. On 28 June 2005,
the Canadian Parliament passed legislation introducing
marriage. On 1 July 2005, Spain introduced same-sex marriage.
On 1 December 2005, the Constitutional Court of
South Africa ruled that the exclusively heterosexual
definition of marriage is unconstitutional.
The story in the US is more complicated. In 1993 Hawaii
changed its state constitution after state courts ruled
unconstitutional the exclusively heterosexual definition
of marriage. In 1996 the US Congress passed the Defense
of Marriage Act, which, much like the recent Australian
legislation, defines marriage as exclusively heterosexual
in federal law. In 1998 Alaska made changes to its constitution
after similar court rulings. On 17 May 2004, Massachusetts
became the first US state to recognise same-sex marriage.
In July 2004, US President George W. Bush failed in
his bid to amend the US Constitution to ban same-sex
marriage. Bush feared (probably correctly) that the US
Supreme Court, when the issue finally gets to it, will
follow the example of the Canadian and South African
courts and strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and
the similar “defence
of marriage” provisions now enacted in the constitutions
of the majority of the states.
Of course, all the countries mentioned above have a
Bill of Rights. In Australia, without a Bill of Rights,
our courts are unlikely to rule that the constitutional
word ‘marriage’ includes same-sex couples.
This is because our Constitution does not guarantee Australians
equal protection of the law.
: Meaghan Shaw, “Labor
backs ban on gay marriage”,
The Age (5 August 2004) 3.
: See Barbeau
v Canada (Attorney-General) (2003) 13 BCLR
(4th) I (CA); Halpern
v Canada (Attorney-General) (2003) 65 OR (3rd)
161 (CA); and, Hendricks
v Québec (Procureur général)  RJQ 2506 (Superior
Court). These decisions were confirmed by the Supreme Court
of Canada: Reference re:same-sex marriage  3 SCR
of Home Affairs v Fourie & Bonthuys 2005
(1 Dec 05) (SACC). See also: court's
Senate abandons inquiry
into same-sex marriage
6 September 2004):
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee
today officially abandoned
its inquiry into the Marriage
Bill. It did so because of the passing of the
Marriage Legislation Bill banning same-sex marriage and
because Parliament has been prorogued for the October
federal election. The inquiry received over 16,000 submissions.
PM plans to ban same-sex marriage
Canberra (Thursday, 27 May 2004):
Prime Minister Howard today introduced into Parliament
plans to ban same-sex marriage in Australia. Under the
Australian Constitution, the federal Parliament has the
power to make laws about marriage. This use of Parliament's
power is discriminatory and you should protest these changes
before it is too late.
submission to the Senate
Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee inquiry
into the Bill. (On 30 August 2004, the
Senate abandoned this inquiry.)
Read the proposed
Read the Parliamentary Library's Digest
on the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill.
Read the PM's
comments on gay marriage.
What YOU can do
You should talk to or email your local
member of the House of Representatives or the Senate to
express your concerns that same-sex attracted Australians
are not being treated equally.