The Impact of Changing Values on Australias Marriage Law
These changes have been influenced by the changing social values such as the acceptance of same sex marriages. This legal paper seeks to analyze the impact changing values have had on Australia’s marriage law. The paper will make use of legal sources to highlight these changes since the earliest recorded marriage laws were amended. The paper will present the changes under two topics, namely, law and society and the legal system. The paper will conclude by summarizing its key points to show how changing values have had an impact on the marriage laws in Australia. As a result, the rule of law is a reflection of the society it rules over and it is impacted by any changes within the society it rules over.
The expansive and significant nature of law and society is a key study in legal studies and political science2. The study aims at showing how legal rules are created and the need to understand them in context so as to practice them in a more effective way. Laws do not work as autonomous agents. They are embedded in society and control the limits to social behavior. Cohabitation before marriage was a practice that was unheard of in colonial Australia3. Young women would only leave their parents’ home after a wedding has taken place. Other laws that were related to the institution of marriage include denying land leases to people who were unmarried. As the country developed state-based administrations, it fell onto these states to set up marriage laws as part of its cultural laws.
The state unified the guiding laws from the communities under its rule to create a system that supports most of the local communal laws. Proponents of the position argue that the rights of gays and lesbians have been victimized over the years. Activists have sought to use ethics to prove that a section of the community has been victimized. As a result, the legal system in its wisdom and mandate to protect each and every individual’s freedom has legalized same sex marriages4. This is a clear illustration of how social values over time attached themselves to specific ethical and moral codes to suit their relevance and gain appreciation as a law. The Legal System The institution of marriage in Australia is guided by the Marriage Act of 1961.
The legal system did not provide an equal platform for genders which was against the growing popularity of feminism and inclusion of women in various fields that had been selective. On a larger scale, this represented a value change for society and the amendment sought to change the legal system to take into account the new social value of women. In 2004, the act was amended to include the definition of marriage8. The act originally defined marriage based on a judgment passed on a case in 1866. The Hyde v Hyde (1866) case defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman9. Plans to legalize same sex marriages were introduced to the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2012. However, these bills failed due to a strong campaign against the bills.
In 2016, the government resolved to put the matter before the people who voted in favor of the legalization of same sex marriages in 201711. The Act moved to rework the definition of marriage to include same sex marriages. This particular amendment was introduced, campaigned for and voted for by a large section of the Australian population. Different individuals within the same society have different values and views. However, as democracy calls for the majority to have their way, social issues such as marriage are influenced by the majority view. As a result, the reaction to changing values varies from one party to another. However, in general, changing social values has a large impact on marriage and the laws that guide the union.
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