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Last Thursday in a landmark decision the High Court overturned same sex marriage laws in the Australian Capital Territory; Kathleen Coggins Associate at HopgoodGanim joins us to discuss.  Kathleen welcome back to BRR Media.

Thanks for having me again Jacqui.

So Kathleen why did the court overturn these laws?

Well Jacqui the High Court did ultimately find that the Marriage Equality Same Sex Act in the ACT is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act.  The Court made a number of important points in its judgement but basically it said that the kind of marriage provided in the Commonwealth Marriage Act, the marriage between a man and a woman is actually the only kind of marriage that can be legally recognised in Australia.  Also the Court expressly noted that whether same sex marriage in Australia should be legalised is actually a matter for Federal Parliament and not for the various states.

And what does this mean for those same sex couples who did marry?

Well there were actually 30 or so couples who did marry in the ACT in that short space of time before the High Court did deliver its judgement on Thursday.  Unfortunately for those couples their marriages will not be valid now that the Court has found that the ACT Act is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Act.

And I understand a new Bill was put before Federal Parliament in a further attempt to legalise same sex marriage, what are the next steps in legalising same sex marriage in Australia?

That's right Jacqui, so two Bills were actually put before Parliament on the same day that the High Court delivered its judgement on Thursday, the first was a Private Members Bill which was introduced into Federal Parliament and which basically seeks to remove the restriction in the Commonwealth Marriage Act as marriage between a man and a woman, and the second Bill that was introduced was actually a same sex marriage Bill in Western Australia which again seeks to legalise same sex marriage at a state level.  So Jacqui we'll keep a close eye on any further developments in this area but particularly what's happening in Federal Parliament.

Kathleen thank you so much for joining us.

Thanks Jacqui for having me.

That was Kathleen Coggins, Associate at HopgoodGanim.  Listeners if you have any questions for Kathleen you can send them through either using the panel on your screen or by sending an email to law@brrmedia.com