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Australia: Judge tosses challenge to gay marriage ban

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A Federal Court of Australia judge has ruled against a challenge to the country's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it doesn't amount to discrimination based on sex.

Justice Jayne Jagot's ruling upheld an Australian Human Rights Commission decision to terminate gay rights activist Simon Margan's case, in which he sought an order directing the states of New South Wales and Queensland to register same-sex marriages, according to Bloomberg.

Gay Star News reports that Margan's complaint spoke to the "unlawful discrimination" queer people face "based on sex and marital status by reason of the inability of those persons to register same sex marriages."   

Australia's Marriage Act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, Jagot says in her ruling. “A man cannot enter into the state of marriage as defined with another man just as a woman cannot enter into the state of marriage with another woman,” she writes. “The redress for these circumstances lies in the political and not the legal arena.”

"If our courts feel powerless to remove discrimination the majority of Australians oppose then it's up to politicians to act," Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome is quoted as saying. "This issue has become a test of the capacity of Australia's democratic institutions to respond to popular and overdue reform."

Last year, Australian lawmakers, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, voted against a bill that sought to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

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