Source: BBC News
The ACT parliament passed a bill that will allow gay couples to marry, after a short debate on Tuesday.
Celebrants will now be allowed to marry same-sex couples inside the ACT, regardless of which state they live in.
Federal law, however, specified in 2004 that marriage was between a man and a woman, and the federal government is expected to challenge the move.
The move was passed in the 17-member ACT Legislative Assembly, backed by Labor and the Greens, with the Liberals voting against.
“There is no longer any excuse, if there ever was, to discriminate against same-sex couples in our community,” ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher told the parliament.
Attorney-General George Brandis, however, says the local law will face a legal challenge, because it is inconsistent with the national-level Marriage Act.
“It would be very distressing to individuals who may enter into a ceremony of marriage under the new ACT law, and to their families, to find that their marriages were invalid,” a statement from the Attorney-General’s Office said.
The ACT bill was amended shortly before it passed in an attempt to strengthen it against a potential challenge.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who leads a Liberal-National coalition, opposes same-sex marriage.
His sister, however, has recently disclosed that she is engaged to her female partner.
Last year, a bill allowing same-sex marriage was voted down in both houses of Australia’s national parliament.