Same-sex marriage ban 'a milestone for values'

Saturday, August 14, 2004.

ABC News on-line

The Federal Government says a new law banning same-sex marriages is a historic milestone for Australian values.

The legislation, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, passed the Senate yesterday with Labor's support.

National Party Senator Ron Boswell says there is no stronger bond than that between a man and a woman in marriage.

"Most Australians recognise that marriage is a sacred union the most basic building block of society and the foundation of a family," Mr Boswell said.

Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett says the ban is disgusting and upsetting.

'This bill doesn't only degrade marriage and is anti-family, it's anti-human and is a validation of a decline in moral standards and decency," Mr Bartlett said.

Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja says she is also appalled by the legislation.

"This has been a shocker of a week an embarrassing, shameful, disgraceful week," Ms Stott Despoja said.

"In fact, it's one of the most embarrassing weeks in this parliament."

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle says it should never have been passed.

"This piece of legislation legislates official discrimination against a section of our community," she said.

Gay activists believe the law is unconstitutional.

Advocates, including Rodney Croome, are considering a High Court challenge.

"All I can say is that our lawyers are exploring the possibility that this legislation may be unconstitutional," Mr Croome said.

He says it is the first time since Federation that gays and lesbians have had the rights taken away.