The Federal Government’s challenge to the ACT’s same-sex marriage laws will go before the High Court tomorrow.
The ACT on Tuesday became the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass laws legalising same-sex marriages.
But the Federal Government is challenging the legislation in the High court, arguing it is not consistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act.
A writ of summons was lodged with the High Court yesterday and the matter had been expected to go before the court for the first time next week.
But a court spokesman says the Federal Government’s expedited hearing request has prompted a judge to list the matter for a directions hearing on Friday afternoon.
Yesterday Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned anyone planning to marry under the new laws to wait for the High Court to rule whether the legislation is valid or not.
The Government says it has asked for an expedited hearing to avoid distressing any people who may marry under the laws, only to find their marriage is not legal.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has indicated there could be further changes to the territory’s legislation after a meeting with constitutional lawyers and marriage equality groups on Monday.
“If I am convinced that we need to make amendments to strengthen the bill then we are open to it because I think we’ve seen in the last few days the kind of strength of the Commonwealth attack on this,” she said.
“We want this bill to have the best chance it can in the High Court and if that requires further amendments we are open to considering them.”