The Tasmanian government has taken intial steps towards marriage equality in the state after it tabled its marriage equality bill today.
Marriage equality advocates have welcomed move which is expected to be debated in the state’s Lower House this week.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings (pictured) and state Greens leader Nick McKim co-sponsored the bill.
It is expected to pass through the Lower House with the support of both Labor and the Greens but its passage through the Upper House is still unclear.
Last week, McKim thanked the premier for co-sponsoring the bill.
“This move maintains the momentum towards marriage equality for Tasmania, and is the first practical step in securing this historic social reform,” he said.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said he was proud the state was leading the way on marriage equality.
“This reform will help build stronger relationships and families in Tasmania, as well as increase pressure on the other states and Federal Government to follow,” he said.
He said he was hopeful the bill would pass the state’s Lower House but is still encouraging all Tasmanians to take action.
“In the 48 hours until this bill is debated I urge all Tasmanians who support equality to contact their local MP and encourage them to vote for a reform that will do our state proud.”
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich said the Tasmanian bill was comprehensive and high quality enough to withstand a High Court challenge.
He said the creation of a new opt-in register for celebrants meant religious ministers would not have to marry same-sex couples against their will.
Tasmanian Opposition Leader Will Hodgman told the ABC that Coalition members would not be allowed a conscience vote on the issue since it was a matter for the federal Parliament.
The premier and Greens leader will speak about the bill in a press conference this afternoon.