Australia legalizes gay marriage

The debate over gay rights and discrimination is hardly limited to the United States. Australian provinces, like the American states, showed themselves divided on the issue as early as 1970, when the Sydney-based Campaign Against Moral Persecution launched to promote equality. In 1972 South Australia became the first to partially decriminalize homosexuality, followed by Australian Capitol Territory in 1976 and Victoria in 1980. The biggest victory came when New South Wales, the province that includes that country’s capitol, Sydney, joined in the reform.

On this day, June 8, 1984, homosexuality was decriminalized in New South Wales, Australia. The decision came not due to a changing of views on the act, but because of an admission that the state has no right to interfere in the private lives of its citizens.

Australian opponents of the legalization of homosexuality grounded their arguments in theology, arguing that the practice is a sin and contrary to the will of God, as well as contrary to the natural order, in that it does not lead to procreation. Most churches could not make the case that the practice endangered the state, and therefore had no legal basis for criminalization.