Launching its first online divorce service in Australia, a new law that will give same-sex couples the right to marry has seen the launch of its new online counselling service, Marriage Equality Act.
Launched by the federal government in late September, the law will give gay couples the same rights and protections afforded to other married couples.
The law is part of a broader push to redefining marriage and legalise gay marriage in the United States, which has already become the first nation to allow same-gender couples to wed.
The new law will allow same sex couples to file divorce cases, seek medical care and access court records and other legal documents online.
It will also allow them to lodge joint claims in the Federal Court, the Australian Federal Police and the High Court.
The laws aim to give gay Australians access to marriage equality.
The Marriage Equality act was introduced in response to a Federal Court ruling that found Australia’s Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.
The decision led to the introduction of a new marriage law.
It was passed in 2013 but the new law has been delayed by the High Courts ruling, which the Federal Government says is now out of its control.
It is understood the Government will now move to finalise the new legislation as soon as possible.
The Australian Federal Government will be introducing the Marriage Equality Bill, which will also include the repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which protects gay Australians from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The bill will include amendments to the Racial Integrity and Community Services Act, including a new section that will outlaw discrimination based upon sexual orientation against gay people.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten said it was an important step in the right direction.
“I think this is a great step forward in recognising the dignity of the human person and allowing the dignity to be recognised,” Mr Shorten told Sky News.
He said the bill would also remove discrimination based against gay and transgender Australians based on race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or intersex status. “
It’s a very significant step forward.”
He said the bill would also remove discrimination based against gay and transgender Australians based on race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or intersex status.
The Federal Government has not yet provided any detail of the changes it intends to make to the Marriage Act, but the Federal Opposition has been vocal about the importance of the legislation in helping gay and lesbian couples.
In a statement, the federal Opposition said the changes would not only give gay and bisexual Australians the same protections as married couples but also help ensure equality for all Australians.
“The Marriage Act has made significant progress in recognizing that a human being is entitled to the same fundamental rights as a married person, but that same rights also need to be respected by our laws and our communities,” Opposition Leader Bill Shortens said.
“Today, the Federal Parliament confirms the essential equality rights for all of our people, but will make significant changes to the Equality Act to ensure the protection of all Australians.”
Opposition Leader Mark Dreyfus has welcomed the changes.
“This bill is about the rights of all people to be treated with dignity, respect and equality, regardless of who they love, where they live or who they come from,” Mr Dreyfs said in a statement.
“A vote for this bill will help us to end the scourge of discrimination and discrimination against Australians, including our LGBT community.”
In a report released on Friday, the Institute of Public Affairs said there was “significant evidence that existing laws discriminate against LGBTI people”.
“The Equality Act is one of the few pieces of legislation in Australian history that explicitly protects the right of same- or inter-sex people to marry, to get married, to access the courts and to be free from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation,” the report said.
The institute said the Government’s changes would help ensure same- and inter-semesse marriage was legalised in Australia.