The honeymoon was short-lived for Australia's gay couples who married in the past five days after the High Court overturned new same-sex marriage laws on Thursday (Dec 12), invalidating wedding ceremonies performed since Saturday (December 7).

"For the first time ever same-sex couples have married on Australian soil. That has been a huge step forward and one from which there is no return. The High Court today has given us a clear path forward," said Australian Marriage Equality National Director Rodney Croome after the ruling was handed down.

Around 20 gay couples had tied the knot since Dec. 7, when Australia's first same-sex marriage laws came into force in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The first ceremonies were celebrated a minute after midnight (1300 GMT Friday December 6).

Australia's conservative national government had challenged the law in the High Court on the grounds it conflicted with federal law. On Thursday, the court upheld the challenge and unanimously decided that the ACT law was invalid.

The court said the issue of same-sex marriage was a matter for the national parliament. Laws to legalise same-sex marriage failed to pass in the national parliament in September 2012.

Australia's Green Party responded to the ruling by introducing a federal marriage equality bill.

"It's devastating for the people concerned and for their families and friends but it is also a clarion call for everyone around the country who supports marriage equality to now put the pressure on the Federal Government and the Federal Parliament to change it," said Green Party leader Christine Milne.

Presented by Adam Justice

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