Same Sex Marriage – What Now?
Australians have just voted yes to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry”.
That is a start – however it is still not the law and same sex couples still cannot marry. There is now a process that must be followed and even if the process is followed, there is no certainty that it will become law. We are still reliant on the politician’s voting as per their electorate. The politicians can still vote against same sex marriage even if their electorate voted a majority yes.
The next step is that a bill will be entered parliament. In fact there are already 2 private bills that have been proposed by liberals members of parliament – one presented by Senator Smith that the PM, Labour and Greens have said will support it and the other presented by Senator Paterson that has divided all parties, even the Liberal party, with concern that it may discriminate against same sex couples (the concern is that it will allow private businesses to refuse to provide goods and services for same sex weddings).
Both of the proposed bills are primarily about a change to a single section in the Marriage Act – Section 5 which provides the definition of marriage “means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”. It is those words – ‘man and a woman’ – that will change, and it is proposed that those words be deleted and changed to ‘2 people’.
But it does not stop there.
Politicians will then need to debate the bills presented in the lower house of parliament (House of Representatives) and the upper house of parliament (the Senate). Those debates will include amendments to the proposed bill and voting on the bill i.e. whether it should proceed to be made the law.
If passed through both Houses of Parliament it will then go to the Governor-General to sign it in as law.
That process can take weeks (if there are not many amendments to be debated) or months.
Parliament is sitting for 2 weeks from 27 November and it will be debated in those sittings. If there can be an agreement on the bill, then it will go to the Governor-General to be signed in as law before Christmas. If there is no agreement on the bill, then it will need to wait until next year when parliament sits again.
It goes without saying that today is a huge step in the right direction for Human Rights in Australia. If the laws are passed, then this will bring Australia in line with all the progressive Western societies of the world and become the 25thcountry to allow same sex couples to marry.
Where to from here?
You are probably in one of three head spaces right now:
- Want to know what effect Same Sex marriage will have it it is passed into law? I suggest you my article “Same Sex Marriage – What Effect will the Law Have if passed?“.
- You are wanting more information about what you need to know after separation – if that is the case, then I suggest you register for our next FREE webinar to learn more, click here to find our more details and to register.
- You are ready to do something about your problem right now. If that is the case, then book an appointment with one of our Family Law solicitors by clicking here to make an online booking.