“There is no longer any excuse if there ever was to discriminate against same-sex couples in our community. They are our children, our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our leaders, our businesspeople, our mentors and our colleagues. More than anything, they are our equals. The Marriage Equality Act puts this fundamental principle and human right into law.”

So said ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher this morning as the territory’s Legislative Assembly passed laws permitting same-sex marriage.

Crikey believes strongly in individuals’ right to choose who they marry, regardless of their sexuality. To treat gay people as second-class citizens, discriminated against by the law, is a throwback to a time of conformity and repression. It’s past time the laws were changed, and not just in the ACT.

The Abbott government intends to challenge these new laws in the High Court. It is fighting on the wrong side of history. The government should consider the fact that its challenge would distress people and run counter to public opinion, and drop this High Court challenge.

After all, as Gallagher noted today, same-sex couples include “our sisters”. Tony Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, is engaged to her female partner. They want to marry in their home city of Sydney.

Can Tony Abbott give us one good reason why they should not be allowed to do so?