Speaker(s): Chair: The Honourable Kenneth Hayne AC QC, former Justice, High Court of Australia Panel of speakers: The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, former Justice, High Court of Australia, Catherine Dixon, Executive Director, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre
The issue of gender neutral marriage has become and remains one of the most contentious in contemporary Australia. But, putting to one side the controversial social and political questions, what are the legal concerns, if any, associated with the possible introduction of same sex marriage? The decision of the High Court of Australia in The Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory (2013) 250 CLR 441 might be considered to have resolved the meaning of the word “marriage” in section 51(xxi) of the Commonwealth Constitution, but do any other constitutional concerns remain? Do human rights issues arise out of the possible introduction of same sex marriage into Australia? What is the legal relevance, if any, to the possible introduction of same sex marriage into Australia of the issues arising out of religious freedom and the associated exemptions from discrimination law? Does the experience of overseas countries which have recognised same sex marriage shed any light on these, and other, relevant issues? A distinguished panel of lawyers have been brought together to address these difficult but topical questions.