NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann has given notice for a motion calling on the NSW Government to legalise same-sex marriage under state law if federal politicians fail to do so by 2012.
The motion notes, “Overwhelming public support for marriage equality in Australia [and] the growing number of jurisdictions overseas which have legislated for marriage equality including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Canada and South Africa.”
It then calls on the NSW Government, “in the event that the Federal Parliament fails to legislate for marriage equality in 2011, to legislate to allow marriage between adults in NSW regardless of sexual orientation, sex and gender identity.”
Faehrmann, who holds the Greens GLBTI communities portfolio, said her preference was for the Federal Parliament to pass Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s amendment to the Marriage Act.
“However, if the Federal Parliament fails to act in accordance with overwhelming public support, then the NSW Parliament should,” she said.
“Advice from constitutional law expert Professor George Williams indicates the states have the ability to enact marriage equality laws.
“If the bigger parties in Canberra let us down, then politicians at Macquarie Street should step up the plate.”
Faehrmann said the Greens were “extremely pleased” to see support for marriage equality growing across all states and territories.
“We will continue on with this campaign until all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sex and gender identity is removed,” she said.
“If necessary, the Greens will introduce a marriage equality bill in NSW to make this happen.”
Independent Sydney MP Clover Moore has also indicated she will introduce a state-based same-sex marriage bill into the lower house if re-elected.
Australian Marriage Equality National Convener Alex Greenwich praised the move.
“Having support and strong advocates for equality in both the lower and upper houses of NSW Parliament provides NSW with a real chance of being the first state to allow same-sex marriage,” he said.
“Cate Faerhrmann and Clover Moore are representing the views of a majority of NSW residents who support full marriage equality”.
Faehrmann’s motion comes as other state Greens parties are pushing same-sex marriage bills in Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia, while the South Australian branch of the ALP voted in support of same-sex marriage at its state conference over the weekend.
The motion was put forward by a member of Rainbow Labor and seconded by openly gay Senator Penny Wong.
The Federal Greens are also seeking to remove the Federal Government’s power veto over the Australian Capital Territory so that it may set its own policy on issues including euthanasia and using official ceremonies to create same-sex civil unions.