The High Court hearing into the ACT's Marriage Equality (Same-Sex) Bill could begin as early as December according to Chief Justice Robert French.



At last Friday’s direction hearing into the challenge, which was attended by ACL staff, Chief Justice French adjourned the directions hearing until the 4th of November but signalled he was working towards having the case heard when the full court sits from the 3rd to 6th of December.



The ACT laws for same-sex ‘marriage’ are set to come into effect on the 7th of November and can be conducted a month later on the 7th of December.



Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott suggested that same-sex couples wait for the High Court to rule whether the legislation is valid before marrying in the ACT.



On Tuesday 22nd October, the ACT became the first jurisdiction in Australia to legislate for same-sex marriage. The federal government is challenging the law in the High Court, arguing its inconsistency with the Commonwealth Marriage Act.



The ACT has until 1st November to file its defence to the Commonwealth's challenge.



The ACL has long advocated for traditional marriage as between a man and a woman. It provides a natural, timeless and sustainable foundation for our society. The Commonwealth Marriage Act did not invent marriage, rather it recognises and protects something that has existed since the beginning of history.



Marriage serves as the best, most stable environment where society can nurture and protect its next generation. Marriage and family are intrinsically linked to human existence and human flourishing. This is not to say that single people don’t contribute to society. Instead it merely recognises that every child owes their existence to a mum and a dad.



Furthermore, redefining marriage has religious liberty implications. The ACT government has continued to say that religious freedoms are protected under this legislation – that no minister of religion will be required to solemnise a marriage, nor will any church or place of worship be required to host a ceremony. However, this fails to acknowledge that there’s no stopping an action being taken against a minister under the Discrimination Act or Human Rights Act as churches are generally public places.