MARRIAGE advocates have welcomed moves by the NSW Labor Party to adopt same-sex marriage as an official platform for the first time.
National Director of Australian Marriage Equality (AME) Rodney Croome pointed to a recent poll that showed acceptance of same-sex marriage was now at an all time high.
Two motions backing marriage equality will be put to NSW Labor members at this weekend’s state conference at Sydney Town Hall.
One motion calls for marriage equality to become official NSW Labor policy which, if passed, would bring the party’s largest state branch into line with the rest of the country.
Backed by both the left and right wings of the party, the motion is expected to pass.
The second and more controversial motion, being spearheaded by the left, will seek to mandate federal Labor MPs to vote for marriage equality in any upcoming vote modifying the current national position which allows members to vote according to their conscience.
This is likely to face opposition, with many Sydney suburban Labor MPs having voted against the failed 2012 marriage equality vote in Canberra.
Croome said that while a binding vote on marriage equality was consistent with Labor’s stance on human rights issues, AME would continue to work “towards a cross-party conscience vote and our strategy remains one of working with individual MPs and grass roots supporters in their electorates.”
Deputy Opposition Leader and Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek has said she plans to bring a bill to the Federal Parliament calling for marriage equality but only when the Liberals give their MPs a free vote which would greatly increase the chances of a positive outcome.
However, Plibersek is against forcing Labor’s Canberra MPs to vote for marriage equality telling the Star Observer earlier this month: “There are people in the Labor Party who would like it to be a binding vote but it’s very difficult for us to argue for a conscience vote for the Liberal Party and then not have a conscience vote ourselves.”
NSW upper house Labor MP and marriage equality campaigner Penny Sharpe told the Star Observer it was time for the party’s state branch to officially get behind same-sex marriage.
“It will be good to have NSW Labor finally achieve a position in favour of marriage equality,” she said.
Sharpe backed calls for federal MPs to be mandated to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.