Although the support of same sex marriages grows yearly internationally, researchers show that 12 nations on the globe allow marriage equality on a national level. While Canada was amongst the initial nations to permit same sex marriage, Australia does not allow the marriages (Witzleb, 2011: p. 146). Political institutions are important in the national outlook of marriage equality in Australia and Canada. Therefore, the comparison is useful (Hand, 2013). Moreover, Australia and Canada are comparable as they share similar traits. The nations have low population densities and a huge migrant populous. Moreover, the nations have control of the most of the uranium reserves in the world, a national formal multiculturalism policy, and have the Queen of England as the Head of State. However, the critical difference between Australia and Canada relates to absence of a Bill of Rights in Australia. Therefore, the comparison of the marriage equality encompasses the disparity of outcomes of the marriage equality, additional institutions, the mobilization of resources, and the structures of the opportunities in politics. Also, the study focuses on the differences of debate approaches of marriage equality in Australia and Canada as well as the political will to allow the same sex marriages.
The disparity of outcomes of the marriage equality
The structure of the federal government in Canada has more power over marriages as per the mandate of the constitution to the executive arm (Moskovtsev et al., 2013: p. s67). However, marriage in Australia had the acceptance to be the responsibility of the federal government after the constituent states mandated the federal government with the power to decide on marriage. Because Australia has a supremacy clause for cases of contradictions of the federal and state laws, the same sex supporters had to pursue federal recognition after success in some states. Therefore, the difference between Canada and Australia on marriage equality is the role of the legislative and executive government’s arms on the issue. Although the Canadian government reaffirmed the traditional marriages in the 1990s and early 2000s, her executive arm ruled a recognition of the marriages on 19th March, 2005 (Abbott, 2011: p. 99). However, Australia legislature ruled against same sex marriages in 2004 and restricted marriages to hetero gender relations (Murphy, 2011: p. 291). Nevertheless, the Australia executive arm did not deter the legislature ruling in 2004. The rulings had impacts on the resource mobility and the political opportunities in relation to same sex marriages.
The allocation of resources
The Canadian and Australian governments have legislative power to rule on the resource allocation in a manner that is inclusive and fair (Alm, Leguizamon and Leguizamon, 2013: p. 173). However, the Australian nation does not include the same sex marriages during the division of funds for the minority groups. In 2008, the gay lobbies in Australia made demonstrations in 5 states against the federal state’s exclusion. Since Canada recognizes marriage equality, the federal government includes the same-sex marriages during the activities of resource distribution.
The structures of the opportunities in politics
The presentation of the debate of same sex marriages in Australia is difficult in comparison to Canada. Because the values of the Rights Bill align with the cultural values of Canada, the debates on marriage equality as human privileges is a clear policy in parliament (Varik, n.d.). Conversely, the marriage equality lacks a link with a prevalent Australian civil policy.
While Canada adopted the Rights Bill by 1982, Australia lacks one in place. The Rights Bill in Canada enables the judiciary to review the decisions of the executive and legislative government functions (Banfield and Knopff, 2011: p. 22). On the other hand, the Australian executive arm has legislative powers over marriages and makes ultimate final decisions. The Australian high Court ruled in favor of the federal government in 2013 in that the federal government had the legislative power for same marriages. Additionally, the decision of the court implies that the federal government had a chance to include the marriage equality in the 2004 but seamlessly restricted it to heterosexual relations.
The political will to allow marriage equality in Canada and Australia
Whereas the Canadian government allowed same sex matrimonies in 2005, the supporters of same sex in Australia had begun to achieve recognition in 2004. However, the prime minister of Australia lacked the will to allow same sex marriages (Arroyo, 2015). Due to the gay supporters struggle for marriage and de-facto families equal to heterosexual relations, Howard argued for the conservation of social values. In fact, he seconded his arguments with the then America’s president, G.W. Bush, to conserve social values (Rayside and Wilcox, 2011). Therefore, the prime ministers arguments implied distrust to the legislative ability to protect the rights of minority groups through the sustained traditional outlook of matrimony to be of a woman and a man only. Also, the executive favor of the traditional marriage aligns with the religious perspectives on the same. For instance, the majority Judeo-Christian values in Australia and other religious minorities such as Sikhism and Hinduism favor heterosexual marriages (Smith, 2012: p. 96). Whereas the Labor party in 2007 favored marriage equality through the legal support of the same sex marriages, the party supported the traditional heterosexual marriages on the social scene to gain support of the Christian fraternity. Similarly, the recent parties in Australia use the marriage equality as political signs through legal acceptance but social disapproval (Grossi, 2012: p. 503).
Besides, the Australia commission om Human Rights, that is a firm with independent statutory rights, recommended the legislation of same sex rights to eliminate the major discriminatory aspects against the same sex marriages in the nation. Therefore, both Canada and Australia same sex marriages have equal rights after 2011 (Beckwith, 2013: p. 497). Contrariwise, the federal commission of human rights in Australia argued for the favor of the government to same sex marriages unlike in Canada where equality of hetero and marriage equalitys is critical. However, the conservative government in 2013 criticized the commission in Australia in that the gay minorities favor political interests over the mainstream Australians.
In conclusion, Canada and Australia have many similarities. However, the main difference is that Australia lacks a Rights Bill but Canada adopted in 1982. Consequently, the outcomes of the political decisions in Canada were different from Australia. While Australia disallowed the marriage equality in 2004, the Canadian nation allowed same sex marriages in 2005. The decisions affect the resource mobilization in both nations differently. Despite the common legislative economic roles, the Australian government does not recognize marriage equality during resource allocation. Whereas the Australian federal government executive has complete legislative laws, the judicial arm of Canada overlooks the decisions of own legislature. The Australian executive lacks the political will to permit marriage equality and sustains the traditional social marriage of man and woman. Moreover, the parliament discussion of marriage equality privileges in Australia is difficult in comparisons to Canada. The reasons for the difference is as a result of a lack of the association of the human rights of marriage equality with other civil policies in Australia. On the contrary, the human rights of marriage equality in Canada coincide with the cultural values in the nation. Although the political of the two nations is similar in terms of historical viewpoint, the social and religious perspectives in Australia affect the political decisions that lack an independent review body similar to in Canada.
- Abbott, E. (2011). A history of marriage. New York: Seven Stories Press.
- Alm, J., Leguizamon, J. and Leguizamon, S. (2013). Revisiting the Income Tax Effects of
Legalizing Same-Sex Marriages. J. Pol. Anal. Manage. 33(2), pp.263-289.
- Arroyo, C. (2015). Is the Same-sex Marriage Debate Really Just about Marriage?. J Appl Philos, p.n/a-n/a.
- Banfield, A. and Knopff, R. (2011). Legislative versus Judicial Checks and Balances:
Comparing Rights Policies across Regimes. Australian Journal of Political Science, 44(1), pp.20-24.
- Beckwith, F. (2013). Justificatory Liberalism and Same-Sex Marriage. Ratio Juris, 26(4),
- Convictcreations.com. (2016). Cultural Differences between Australia and Canada. [online]
Available at: http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/canada.html [Accessed 10 Aug. 2016].
- Grossi, R. (2012). The meaning of love in the debate for legal recognition of same-sex marriage
in Australia. International Journal of Law in Context, 8(04), pp.487-505.