The Abbott Government will seek a speedy High Court hearing to quash the nation's first same-sex marriage laws after yesterday's historic vote in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
As gay couples cried tears of joy and burst into song in the wake of the vote, the ACT Labor-Greens Government wants the first weddings to take place by December, but is bracing for the Federal Government to seek an injunction blocking marriages within days.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the looming court battle would not "rattle" her Government, which was willing to take on "outdated legal notions".
"There is no longer any excuse, if there ever was, to discriminate against same-sex couples in our community," she said.
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General George Brandis said the Federal Government would seek an expedited hearing in the High Court over the Bill.
The Government's legal advice was the ACT's law was invalid because it was inconsistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act
The spokeswoman said the ACT had knocked back Canberra's request not to marry gay couples until the law's constitutionality was resolved.
"It would be very distressing to individuals who may enter into a ceremony of marriage under the new ACT law, and to their families, to find that their marriages were invalid," she said.
About 150 couples and gay rights supporters packed the ACT Assembly's public gallery and a nearby reception room to watch the vote, which passed 8-7.
Among the crowd was former Rockingham resident Lyn Grigg, who held a big banner saying "Thank you ACT" in rainbow-coloured lettering.
Dr Grigg, who has not discussed marriage with her partner, said it was the "greatest day".
"I've got four brothers and sisters and they all have equal rights and I've never had them before," she said. "At this time, in this place, I have equal rights. It just gives you freedom and a sense of belonging."Prime Minister Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster, who this week announced her engagement to partner Virginia Edwards, said the ultimate goal should be for Federal Parliament to legalise gay marriage.