The ACT Territory Branch of the Australian Labor Party has voted in favour of marriage equality, with the motion passing on voices.

Just before 2.30 pm, ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr tweeted, “Thank you to the ACT Branch for their overwhelming support of marriage equality.”

“Very proud of my Party today.”

Prior to the conference Barr told media he was expecting the most emphatic vote on same-sex marriage at an ALP conference.

Of the level of support at the conference he tweeted, “there were a few voices of dissent but more than 90 percent in favour.”

Barr welcomed the strong support from the ACT Branch, acknowledging its long‐standing record of support for fairness, equality and human rights.

“Marriage equality is about giving every Australian citizen the same rights. At the moment gay and lesbian people have lesser rights. ACT Labor members have recognised this unfairness and they have voted for change,”  Barr said.
Barr noted that ACT Branch members had rejected a civil union scheme because it would not achieve equality for GLBTI people and would continue to see us as second‐class citizens.

Barr, who is in a civil partnership with his long term partner Anthony, was the same day elected to be an ACT Labor delegate to the ALP National Conference

Barr has pledged to champion the issue there.

The vote was preceded by around thirty minutes of debate.

At around 2.25pm ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, herself a supporter of marriage equality tweeted, “Great debate underway on marriage equality at ACT ALP conference underway. Wonderful speeches in favour of reform.”

Labor Senator for the ACT, Kate Lundy tweeted, “I am proud to support the motion supporting Marriage Equality at our Annual Conference,” following the vote.

The motion read, “Conference calls on the ALP National Conference to amend the platform to support the legal right of all adult couples in Australia to be married if they so choose, and for that marriage to be recognised and registered by law in Australia, regardless of sexual orientation, or gender, of the parties to the marriage.”

“Conference acknowledges that civil unions of same sex couples do not deliver the same legal security and social recognition as marriage and that a relationship recognition scheme that is separate from marriage would continue to make members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community second class citizens.

“Conference calls upon the ALP National Conference to reject any motion to adopt a civil union scheme as a substitution for the rights of all adult couples, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity, to access marriage.

“Conference calls for any parliamentary vote on same sex marriage to be taken as a binding vote for members of the federal parliamentary party, and that there not be a conscience vote on this issue.”

The vote by ACT Labor means that every state and territory branch of the Labor Party save NSW, and its Women’s Conference has voted in favour of same-sex marriage, while the NSW branch voted to refer the issue to the party’s national conference in December.

The vote by ACT Labor comes three weeks before Federal MPs will report back to the parliament on their consultations with constituents on the issue.

The ACT Labor conference also passed a motion calling for the abolition of the national School Chaplaincy program.

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