Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Same-sex marriage decision heartbreak

A High Court decision to overturn ACT's gay marriage laws has upset Shepparton gay rights advocates.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK December 13, 2013 4:57am

Emmi Menzie, 24 and Jess Peters, 26.

Shepparton’s gay rights advocates say they are heartbroken with the High Court’s decision to overturn ACT’s same-sex marriage laws.

The territory enacted the legislation last month, with about 30 couples legally tying the knot during the weekend just gone.

Yesterday, judges unanimously ruled the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 could not operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act 1961.

It found only the federal parliament had the constitutional power to legislate on the matter.

Shepparton’s Jessica Peters yesterday told The News she was gutted about the ruling.

Ms Peters and her partner Emmi Menzies were saving for a trip to Canberra so they could be legally married.

‘‘We were going to wait and see how all the other states went and we decided that in the next six months we’d go up with our kids,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s really disappointing with all the other countries who have done it, it’s actually pathetic that we haven’t, we’re so far behind.’’

Ms Peters said she was yet to break the news to her children, Dallas, 5, and Aiden, 7.

‘‘They’re still to young to (completely) understand, but they were looking forward to Mum and Emmi’s wedding,’’ she said.

‘‘They were at our engagement party and they were telling everyone how excited they were.’’

UnitingCare Cutting Edge community development worker Damien Stevens described the ruling as unfortunate.

‘‘I thought with the majority of the population being in favour of marriage equality that it would have been passed, not overturned,’’ Mr Stevens said.

‘‘It’s pretty disappointing and hurtful, I wasn’t expecting it.’’

Mr Stevens said his thoughts were with the same sex-couples married at Canberra whose marriages were no longer legal.

But Mr Stevens and Ms Peters said they believed the legalisation of same-sex marriage was inevitable.

‘‘It’ll happen. When is the question,’’ Ms Peters said.

Meanwhile, national Christian organisation FamilyVoice deemed the decision as ‘‘common sense.’’

‘‘Any state or territory laws for so-called same-sex ‘marriage’ would be unconstitutional ... debates in state parliaments on this issue have been a waste of time,’’ president David Phillips said.

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