Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally has come out in support of marriage equality.

On last night’s Q&A program on the ABC, Keneally said all families deserved the right to be married.

TICKETS: Marriage equality fundraiser this Friday night

“Labor and Liberal make the argument that the family is the basic building block of society,” she told the program.

“We all know that married families have a whole range of benefits – they live longer, they make more money. A whole bunch of studies back that up. Then why, why, why, don’t we grant all families the right to be married?”

It is not the first time Keneally has used her considerable political clout to back rights for same-sex couples.

She was instrumental in ensuring the then government’s support for Clover Moore’s bill to allow same-sex adoption this time last year.

During that debate Keneally spoke at length about Catholic teaching on the issue of homosexuality to explain why she saw no conflict between her faith and her support for the amendment, saying the only point on which she strayed from mainstream Catholic doctrine was her belief that sex within a relationship which was not for procreation was not immoral, noting the Church did not bar infertile heterosexuals from having sex within marriage.

Australian Marriage Equality National Convener Alex Greenwich said Keneally’s statement highlighted the fact marriage equality was both pro-family and pro-marriage.

“Ms Keneally’s support for marriage equality is a reminder that allowing same-sex marriages is about strengthening family bonds and upholding the values of marriage,” Greenwich said.

“Given Ms Keneally’s strong, publicly-declared Catholicism, her statement also shatters the myth that politicians with strong Christian beliefs are against same-sex couples marrying.

“I urge all politicians who believe in family values to follow Ms Keneally’s example by supporting this reform.”

Philosopher Raymond Gaita also declared his support for marriage equality during the program.

Speaking of same-sex attracted people Gaita said “it is not an exaggeration to say it (the denial of the right to marry) is a denial of their full humanity.”

Keneally and Gaita’s statement kick-off what is expected to be another big week for Australian marriage equality advocates.

Greenwich is on his way to Tasmania this morning ahead of that state’s historic parliamentary vote on marriage equality.

Greens Leader Nick McKim will introduce the Notice of Motion, which will also call on the Federal Parliament to amend the Commonwealth Marriage Act to deliver marriage equality, today. Debate and a vote are expected on Wednesday.

“If this motion is passed, it will be a historic milestone for marriage equality in Australia,” McKim said.

“Tasmania could lead the way from being the last Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality to the first to endorse marriage equality, with all the social and economic benefits that would follow.

“The Greens believe the law needs to be changed to make same sex marriage legal, and it’s clear from the polls that most Australians agree.

“While the Greens’ motion would not legalise same sex marriage in Tasmania, it would send a strong signal to Federal Parliamentarians that they must get in step with community opinion on this issue.”

Meanwhile, a major marriage equality fundraiser will take place in Sydney this Friday night.

The dual Buck$ and Hen$ nights will raise money for Australian Marriage Equality ahead of the ALP national conference in December where the Labor Party will debate a change to its policy that marriage is between a man and a women, to the exception of all others.

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