Australia invalidates same-sex marriage law

.- The government led by Australian Prime Minister John Howard has invoked rarely-used Commonwealth powers to repeal a law that would have been the country’s first to recognize same-sex marriage.

The Australian Capital Territory, which includes the national capital Canberra, last month voted to allow civil unions for same-sex couples.

On Tuesday, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock asked Gov.-Gen. Michael Jeffrey to invalidate the law.

The Governor-General has the power to strike laws passed by Australian territories within six months of enactment. The last time the rarely used tactic was applied was in the 1990’s to overturn voluntary euthanasia laws in the Northern Territory.

In 2004 The Howard government amended Australian marriage laws to ensure that only unions between men and women were recognized.

Presently, Member of Parliament, Warren Entsch - from Howard’s Liberal Party - is seeking support for his “private member’s” bill, which would give equal rights to same-sex couples in areas such as taxation, pensions, health benefits and social security.

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