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Inquiry closes after smashing record
The public inquiry into same-sex marriage in New South Wales has closed after receiving a record number of submissions.
GetUp! director Sam McLean presented the parliamentary cross-party working group for marriage equality with more than 3,400 submissions from members of the progressive lobby group this morning.
The GetUp! responses brought the total number of submissions to 7,500, making the inquiry by far the largest in NSW history.
GetUp! drew attention to the inquiry last Tuesday, calling on its members to submit in a mass email four days before submissions closed.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said the close of submissions marked a “historic day” for NSW, calling marriage equality “the most-supported issue in the history of parliamentary inquiries”.
“The submissions aren’t just from same-sex couples or gay and lesbian people like myself – they’re from mums and dads, clergy, families and communities across the state, all wanting marriage equality. Many of these people would have participated in the parliamentary process for the first time,” Greenwich said.
Nationals MLC Trevor Khan, who is also a member of the working group, said the number of submissions was “outstanding”.
“The previous record for a parliamentary inquiry was 2,400 submissions – for a typical one you’d be happy if you get 500 responses from the community, so to get more than 7,500 is an extraordinary outcome. It’s pretty plan that the passion for marriage equality at a federal level has continued on in New South Wales,” Khan said.
The inquiry, which was announced by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell in November, aims to assess the constitutional viability of proposed state-based same-sex marriage legislation and gauge public opinion on the issue. Responses to the inquiry have been overwhelmingly in favour of the reform.
The parliamentary working group, comprised of members of four major political parties and Greenwich, released a draft bill on Valentine’s Day that would legalise same-sex marriage in NSW.
A federal inquiry into same-sex marriage last year received more than 275,000 submissions, of which more than 177,000 expressed support for marriage equality.
The inquiry will report its findings in July, after which the bill will move to the state Upper House for debate.