Chief justice raps State for rushing ahead with same-sex result

Susan Denham

The chief justice has issued a stern warning to organs of the State for rushing ahead with the marriage equality referendum result before the matter had been decided by the Supreme Court.

Ms Justice Susan Denham’s pointed remarks were made in a judgment refusing leave to appeal against a decision by the Court of Appeal dismissing two separate challenges to the same-sex marriage referendum.

Ms Justice Susan Denham said “very serious constitutional consequences” may have occurred had the Supreme Court allowed a number of citizens yesterday to present a petition challenging the result of the May 22 poll.

In its judgment yesterday, the court found it also “relevant” to highlight “the respect due to the legal process by other organs of the State”.

“In the event, in this case there was no adverse consequence.” However, had the applicant succeeded in securing permission to challenge the referendum result “on any grounds” then “very serious constitutional consequences might have occurred had this court considered it appropriate to grant leave on any grounds when the certificate had become final and the Constitution amended”.

The chief justice stated that the citizens who challenged the result were “overtaken” by the signing of the 34th amendment into law by the President on Saturday, August 28.

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