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Australia: High court voids ACT law granting marriage equality

The Australia High Court on Thursday morning [it's already tomorrow Down Under] struck down a new law that permitted marriage for gay and lesbian couples who wed in the Australian Capital Territory, aka ACT.

Marriages began on Saturday in ACT, and more than two dozen couples took advantage of the law ahead of the high court ruling. Thursday's decision nullifies those marriages and sets up potential lawsuits against the government.

The high court voted unanimously against the ACT law, saying that it could not supercede the federal Marriage Act of 2004, which was amended to preserve marriage for straight couples.

"The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same sex couples. The Marriage Act provides that a marriage can be solemnised in Australia only between a man and a woman," the court said in a statement issued alongside its ruling. "That Act is a comprehensive and exhaustive statement of the law of marriage."

Gay marriage supporters cried and held each other after the ruling. Rodney Croome, head of Australian Marriage Equality, told the Associated Press: "And that victory was the nation saw for the first time, I believe, what is really at the core of this issue — they've seen that marriage equality is not about protest or politics or even about laws in the constitution, ultimately. Marriage equality is about love, commitment, family and fairness."

Marriage equality remains elusive in most parts of the world, except in 18 nations, 16 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and among a number of American Indian tribes.