The High Court of Australia [official website] on Tuesday decided to rule next week on the law allowing gay marriage in Canberra [Marriage Equality Bill, materials]. The nation's first same sex weddings can take place this weekend. The law was passed by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly [official website] in October and was challenged the following day by the federal government.
In February an Australian judge ruled [JURIST report] that the nation's ban on same-sex marriage does not amount to gender discrimination, dismissing a challenge to the law. The ruling upholds the decision of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) [official website] to terminate the complaint of sex discrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 on the grounds that it was "misconceived and/or lacking in substance." In contrast, lawmakers in both France and the UK [JURIST reports] approved bills that would legalize same-sex marriage earlier in February. Likewise, advocates in the US continue to check off victories across the country as 16 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage, with Illinois [JURIST report] being the most recent addition last month.