BRISBANE City Council (BCC) will adopt support of marriage equality as official policy in the council chamber next Tuesday.

Lord mayor Graham Quirk said the motion was designed to coincide with next Tuesday’s International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).

BCC plans to formally vote on marriage equality on IDAHOT night, Tuesday May 17.

Brisbane LGBTI Action Group (BLAG) said the rainbow lights viewings will be postponed until the vote has passed, then viewings will begin first with the City Hall rainbow lights, followed by the Victoria bridge’s rainbow lighting and culminating with the Story bridge.

BLAG, Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality (AME), Peter Black, LGBTI representative on the Inclusive Brisbane Board, and Queensland AME co-coordinators, Sharon Dane and Peter Black have been working on this measure for some time, BLAG announced in a statement last night.

BLAG said although initial discussions began a year ago, it was uncertain if there were enough votes to carry the motion until now. Discussions were held with all four parties (LNP, ALP, Ind and Greens).

When the motion is carried the council will support the legalisation of marriage between consenting adults regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity, and will call on the federal government to legislate for marriage equality as soon as practicable.

Lord mayor Quirk said LNP councillors would be afforded a conscience vote, but Fairfax Media understands it will pass. The Lord Mayor said he approached Cr Cumming on Tuesday to secure a seconder and to ensure the council was taking a bipartisan approach.

“I support the important message behind the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is why I will continue to promote inclusiveness,” he said.

Peter Black, co-conveyor of Australian Marriage Equality in Queensland, who was instrumental in these backroom negotiations told the Star Observer, that he gratefully acknowledged the leadership of the Lord Mayor in calling not just for marriage equality, but also for a free vote in the Parliament.  A plebiscite is not only unnecessary, it would provide a national platform for misinformation and hyperbole.

“It is very exciting that the Brisbane City Council will pass a bipartisan motion in support of marriage equality.  This is a significant step as Brisbane is not only an LNP controlled council, it is the largest local government in Australia, with a population roughly equivalent to the populations of Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory combined,” Black said.

“Brisbane will also become the first council in Queensland to pass a motion in support of marriage equality.  We hope other councils in Queensland may follow Brisbane’s example and pass similar motions in the months ahead.

“In addition to the Lord Mayor, we thank the leader of the Opposition, Cr Peter Cumming for his support, as well as the ongoing support of Crs Nicole Johnson and Jonathan Sri.”

Black is also the LGBT representative on the Inclusive Brisbane Board.  He said this motion also demonstrates the important work the Inclusive Brisbane Board continues to do for Brisbane’s LGBTIQA+ community.

Cr Cumming said he was happy to support Cr Quirk’s motion. “We also note that the motion calls on the federal government to legislate for marriage equality, thus avoiding an expensive and potentially divisive plebiscite.

“We have always seen marriage equality as an issue of discrimination against same-sex couples and we welcome the LNP’s change of heart,” Cumming said.

The speeches and vote which will take place in Brisbane City Hall on IDAHOT night, Tuesday 17 May are expected are expected between 5 and 7 pm.

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