The High Court has struck down the ACT’s same-sex marriage laws.
The court unanimously ruled that the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 could not operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act 1961.
The ACT enacted its same-sex marriage legislation in November with the first couples marrying at the weekend.
About 30 couples have tied the knot.
In its decision, the High Court held that the federal parliament had power under the Australian Constitution to legislate for same-sex marriage.
As it now stood it was up to the federal parliament to make provisions for same-sex marriage.
The court said that federal legislation – which defines marriage as a union between a man and a women – was a comprehensive and exhaustive statement on the law of marriage.
It held that the ACT law aimed to provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples and not for some form of relationship different to that recognised under the federal marriage law.
As a result, the ACT could not operate concurrently with the federal Act.
The court held that the whole of the ACT Act was of no effect.