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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
Australia overrules gay union law
Australia's conservative national government has overruled a local law allowing gay unions.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) became the first part of the country to legally recognise gay relationships when it voted on the issue last month.
But now the federal government has stepped in to invalidate the new law.
Attorney General Philip Ruddock said that federal law clearly defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
He added that the legislation would be invalid from midnight (1400 GMT) on Tuesday.
The ACT law ruled that same-sex couples could be given the same rights as heterosexual couples, in an established relationship separate to marriage.
But many members of Prime Minister John Howard's conservative government opposed the change.
The government formalised federal marriage laws in 2004 to ensure that only men and women could marry.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006. 1:11pm (AEST)
G-G to disallow civil unions laws
The Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery, has agreed to disallow the ACT's civil union laws.
The Federal Government objected to the law, which recognises gay and lesbian relationships, saying it was at odds with the Marriage Act.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says in a meeting of the executive council this morning, the Governor-General agreed to overturn the law.
The move is effective from today, and Mr Ruddock says it will prevent the ACT Government's attempt to speed up the approval of civil unions.
"In effect the ploy of bringing forward the date of operation and endeavouring to provide for registration of civil celebrants has failed," he said.
The Governor-General had heard a request from the ACT Legislative Assembly Speaker, Wayne Berry, that the laws be upheld.
In an address at Government House, Mr Berry told General Jeffery that the Civil Unions Act was within the ACT Government's law-making powers.
"The Federal Government has decided for partisan political reasons to intervene on a law which removes discrimination," he said.
Australia government overrules gay marriage laws
June 13, 2006
Australia's conservative national government has overruled same sex marriage laws in the nation's capital, Canberra, Attorney General Philip Ruddock said on Tuesday.
He said federal law made it clear that marriage was only between men and women and that the new laws by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government to allow same-sex unions would be invalid from midnight (9 a.m. EDT) Tuesday.
"From then, there will be no legal basis for the formation of civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory," Ruddock said in a statement.
The government's move to overrule the ACT laws -- which would have given gay couples the same legal rights as married couples by describing the marriages as "civil unions" -- mirrors the push by President Bush to outlaw gay marriage.
Bush wants the U.S. Senate to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage after several state courts since 2003 ruled that state legislatures did not have the right to ban it.
Canada became the fourth country to legalise same-sex marriage in mid-2005, but its new conservative government will allow a free vote in parliament to decide whether the laws should be overturned.
Australia's centre-left Labor opposition has said the government was wrong to intervene over laws passed by the democratically elected ACT government, which administers the nation's capital Canberra.
Australia kills gay marriage legislation
June 13, 2006
Australia's conservative government has quashed a state law which would have allowed gay marriages in the nation's capital Canberra.
The Australia Capital Territory (ACT) same-sex union laws, the first in the country, would have allowed gay and lesbian couples to enter into a civil union with the same recognition as marriage.
But Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the measures had been disallowed.
"The legislative amendments introduced to establish a civil arrangement for same-sex parties and others in the ACT will no longer be law," he said.
The ACT bill was introduced in defiance of a federal law passed two years ago by the government of Prime Minister John Howard that formally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The ACT, like all other Australian states and territories, is controlled by the left-of-centre opposition Labor Party.
Howard said last week that the ACT bill was "plainly an attempt to mimic marriage under the misleading title of civil unions".
Australia invalidates gay-relationship law
Tue Jun 13, 9:07 AM ET
Conservative Prime Minister John Howard's federal government has invoked special powers to invalidate a territory's law that had been the first in Australia giving legal recognition to same-sex relationships.
The Australian Capital Territory, which includes the national capital Canberra, last month became the first of Australia's six states and two territories to legally recognize gay and lesbian relationships.
The new law established a domestic relationship — separate to marriage — under which same-sex couples were to be given the same rights as heterosexual partnerships.
Officials in Howard's center-right coalition — which amended federal marriage laws in 2004 to ensure that only men and women can marry — opposed the law, saying it effectively legalized gay marriage.
Attorney General Philip Ruddock said the government had used its power over territories — which have their own Parliaments and operate in a similar way to states — to invalidate the law. The authority is rarely used.
"The ACT civil relationships ordinance has been disallowed," Ruddock told reporters Tuesday.
"That means, in effect, that the legislative amendments introduced to establish a civil arrangement for same-sex parties and others in the ACT will no longer be law."