Appellate Advocacy Blog

Editor: Tessa L. Dysart
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law

Friday, December 13, 2013

Two setbacks for LGBT rights in overseas appellate courts, but with silver linings

  450px-Gay_Marriage_Card_Mr._&_Mr.This week, The Guardian reported on two key high court decisions on gay rights from Australia to India. First, the High Court of Australia struck down a state statute legalizing gay marriage because it conflicted with a federal "one man-one woman" statute. Surprisingly, however, the Court dropped a strong suggestion that the national legislature has the constitutional power to pass an act to the contrary. That "hint" has led to a movement among liberal MPs to back new legislation, especially as the main argument raised previously by conservatives was that a gay marriage act would be unconstitutional. 

Second, the Supreme Court of India reinstated a colonial-era anti-sodomy law, reversing a high court that had declared it invalid. The Supreme Court of India is usually seen as a bastion for civil rights, which made the decision rather shocking to advocates who expected an easy affirmance. According to the Times of India, the silver lining for the law's opponents is that the LGBT movement is rallying strongly and expects to prevail someday soon, capitalizing on rapid social change nationally.

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