Australia’s High Court has overturned a law allowing same-sex marriages.
The original legislation had been passed on 7 December in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), a small, self-governing territory which includes the country’s capital city, Canberra.
However Australia’s conservative government challenged it saying it conflicted with federal law. On Thursday the country’s High Court agreed.
For the more than 20 couples who had tied the knot, finding out their marriage was annulled was heartbreaking:
Newlywed Glenda Lloyd said: “we are very disappointed. We are quite devastated. Obviously we knew that this was a possibility but it was still quite sad to sit in the court and hear that judgement.”
Ivan Hinton, who had married his partner last week said: “this is personally devastating. In less than a week we’ve been married and we’ve been unmarried at least on a legal level. As one of the beautiful couples behind me said, we’re still married.”
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott opposes gay marriage and his coalition has blocked two bills which would have allowed same-sex partnerships to be recognised.
Campaigners say despite the setback they believe it is only a matter of time before same sex marriage is recognised by the national government.