At least 45,000 submissions of support were sent to the Senate inquiry into a bill allowing same-sex marriage, advocates say.

The Senate inquiry closed yesterday and the Star Observer understands that supportive submissions well outnumber those against, although a final count is yet to be completed.

Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national convenor Alex Greenwich said the submissions reflected the diversity of Australian society.

“There are compelling and detailed submissions from Liberal and Labor MPs, from state premiers past and present, from small businesses, from mental health and legal organisations, from gay couples and their families and from many people of faith,” Greenwich said.

“There are also submissions from tens of thousands of ordinary heterosexual Australians for whom this issue has became a symbol of their aspiration for a fair and tolerant Australia where all couples and families are treated equally.

“What we have seen is a landslide of support not just for marriage equality but for a better Australia.”

Just before the 5pm deadline yesterday, Greenwich confirmed 28,000 submissions had been made through the AME website while another 17,000 had also been made via the website of activist organisation, GetUp!

This year’s submissions outnumbers the amount of pro-equality submissions made for 2009 Senate marriage equality inquiry by four to one. It also exceeds the next largest inquiry number of submission for a Senate inquiry, the Northern Territory Euthanasia Bill in 1997, by four times.

Greenwich said the number of submissions shows how engaged Australians have become on the issue.

“The number of submissions proves that active support for marriage equality has grown exponentially over the past few years,” he said.

“Australians don’t just support marriage equality, they support it passionately.”

Pro-equality submissions have been received from NSW Nationals MLC Trevor Khan, former NSW Labor premier Kristina Keneally, Wallabies rugby star David Pocock, screenwriter and director Stephan Elliott, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Justice Michael Kirby, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings.

Submissions also came from the Australian Psychological Association, headspace youth mental health organisation, the Australian Medical Students Association and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Amnesty International and various legal centres joined a number of clergymen including dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane, the Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt, in making pro-gay marriage submissions to the inquiry.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young welcomed the interest in the inquiry into her marriage equality bill.

“This is the most popular bill in the history of the parliament because Australians care deeply about marriage equality and wanted their elected representatives to know it,” Hanson-Young said.

“Australians have made their voices clear — now it’s up to parliamentarians from both sides to listen to them and act accordingly. Cupid does not discriminate in love and it’s time the Marriage Act was amended to reflect that.”

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