The recent announcement by the federal Attorney-General to appropriately incorporate de facto same-sex relationships into Commonwealth legislation is sensible and welcome, but his explanation on last night’s 7:30 Report about why the marriage laws won’t be changed was unconvincing.
Of course, the major reason they won’t be changed is that Labor doesn’t want to upset swinging voters and it thinks that recognising same-sex marriages may do this. Another reason is that there are many socially conservative ALP members, unions (the SDA is one) and supporters, and the ALP doesn’t want to alienate them.
While the actual electoral impacts of changing the marriage laws seems uncertain, I can see no substantive reason they should not be changed. And by not changing the marriage laws, same-sex couples married overseas will presumably not have their marriages recognised in Australia. Australia should recognise these overseas marriages and change Australian law to recognise same-sex marriages.