THE BLOG
12/09/2013 08:32 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

The Complicated Australian Marriage Situation Explained (VIDEO)

Nobody's quite sure what's about to happen with marriage equality in Australia, but one thing's clear: It's going to be big.

Several months ago, the small Australian Capital Territory legalized marriage equality. (About 1.5 percent of Australia's population lives there.) The federal government challenged the new marriage law in court, but for some reason it didn't ask for an injunction to prevent weddings of same-sex couples from starting. As a result, same-sex couples can now wed in the ACT, provided that they give a month's notice.

The court is scheduled to have a ruling by Thursday of this week. It remains unclear whether they'll allow the ACT to enforce its own marriage laws, much as states in the U.S. do. It's also unclear whether the ACT marriages will be portable into other Australian territories. And if the law is overturned, it's unknown whether the marriages conducted in the "window" will still count.

Of course, while Australia grapples with local vs. federal control, several states in the U.S. are heading toward rulings on marriage equality. It's been several months since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on DOMA, and it's unclear how federal and state courts will use that ruling going forward. We could have decisions very soon in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah, and even Hawaii, where marriage equality just became legal.

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