Australian Marriage Equality convenor Rodney Croome has said he expects to see gay marriage legalised somewhere in Australia within a matter of months.

Speaking to the Star Observer today after Tasmania’s Upper House narrowly voted down same sex marriage legislation by eight votes to six last night, Croome said legalised marriage for the LGBTI community would occur before the year was out.

“Tasmania has brought us closer to marriage equality than we have ever been before in Australia,” Croome said.

“The fact that the bill was only narrowly defeated, the fact that we have a majority of Tasmanians on our side and the fact that upper house members opposed to the bill were chiefly concerned about constitutional issues shows that this bill has a very good chance when it’s reintroduced.”

Croome said that although the bill failed to gain enough support, the closeness of the vote showed how far the campaign for equal rights had come.

“I think the other states that are considering this issue will be encouraged by what has happened in Tasmania because we have come within just a couple of votes of success and they will be encouraged,” he said.

“I expect to see same-sex couples marrying somewhere in Australia within a matter of months.”

Yesterday a cross-party group of MPs working on legalising same-sex marriage in NSW expressed disappointment at the rejection of a marriage bill by the Tasmanian Legislative Council, but said the group remained committed to passing same-sex marriage legislation in NSW.

“The right to be treated equally before the law and to marry the person you love is an unstoppable force that our parliaments will have to continue to deal with until this discrimination is removed,” the statement read.

“The working group will be reviewing all contributions and issues raised in the Tasmanian debate and will take those into account in its deliberations and the drafting of a NSW bill.”

The group includes Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith, Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann, Labor MLC Penny Sharpe and National Party MLC Trevor Khan.

The group said it was in the process of consulting with groups in favour of legalising gay marriage in NSW and would take into account the Tasmanian experience.

It’s expected the NSW legislation will be voted on by the end of the year.

There are currently marriage equality bills before half the state and territory parliaments, including South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT.

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