The ACT could be only weeks away from becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to allow for same-sex marriage with legislation expected to be introduced during the spring sittings of the Legislative Assembly.
Attorney-General Simon Corbell told reporters earlier this week the Labor-Greens minority government would work towards introducing the Territory Same-sex Marriage Act over coming months.
“The ACT first started agitating for reform in this area way back in 2006,” Corbell said.
“Since then there’s been massive steps. We’ve seen the debate move from civil unions to same-sex marriage within three to five years and at the same time we’ve seen massive shifts within the left-of-centre political parties, particularly my own party, on the importance on reform.”
Last week, a NSW Parliamentary inquiry found that the state has the constitutional power to legislate for same-sex marriage however it declined to discuss the potential success of any High Court challenge in the event of a state or territory-based bill being brought forward. The release of the inquiry’s report has further stirred hopes for a successful same-sex marriage bill in the ACT.
ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr told the Star Observer he was very positive the bill will pass with all eight Labor MLAs and Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury intending to vote in support of it.
“I am confident that the Bill will pass the ACT Legislative Assembly,” he said. “Nine of the seventeen members have already indicated their support.”
Same-sex couples in the ACT have been able to register civil partnerships since 2008.