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Australian Capital Territory aims to legalize gay marriage by year’s end

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says she expects rest of country will follow ACT's lead

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says there's overwhelming support for gay marriage. Credit:

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government aims to legalize gay marriage by the end of the  year, The Guardian reports.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says she doesn’t expect the new federal coalition government will intervene to stop the legislation from proceeding, according to the report.

The Guardian notes that former prime minister John Howard's Liberal government had invoked its federal powers a number of years ago to upend ACT’s move to permit gay civil unions, which have since been reinstated.

The report says ACT’s intention to bring a gay-marriage bill forward may prove to be an early challenge for prime minister-elect Tony Abbott, who has opposed same-sex marriage in the past.

But Gallagher says there’s “overwhelming support” in the community for it.

As it stands, repeal of ACT gay-marriage legislation would involve both houses of parliament.   

“Any intervention won’t be easy and we certainly don’t want to be the first test of the new Senate,” Gallagher told The Guardian. “I think opposition to this has softened within politics in acknowledgment of the fact that the community has shifted its view in favour.”

Gallagher also points to Tasmania’s efforts to legalize gay marriage but feels ACT will get there first. She says she expects the rest of the country will follow ACT's lead.

After initially opposing gay marriage, former Labour prime minister Kevin Rudd gave a spirited defence of it during a question-and-answer session on television after a Christian pastor questioned his changed stance.

Rudd’s Labour Party was defeated in recent elections by Tony Abbott’s Liberal National party coalition government.

Rudd did retain his seat in Brisbane but says he won’t be a party leadership contender.