Tasmania’s parliament voted against the principle of same-sex marriage last week, while NSW gay rights activists stepped up the fight for equal state parenting laws.
A majority of Tasmania’s lower house supported a motion against the principle of same-sex marriage put forward by the state’s Liberal opposition.
Labor voted in favour of the motion despite voicing its support for gay marriage at the party’s state conference last year.
The vote came a day after the Tasmanian Greens introduced same-sex marriage legislation following advice from a constitutional law expert that state-based marriage laws would not conflict with federal marriage laws.
Greens spokesperson Cath Hughes said the party was disappointed with Labor’s decision, but that the vote did not end the possibility of same-sex marriage in Tasmania.
A vote on whether to send the legislation to a parliamentary committee for debate is due in the next few weeks.
Gay activist Rodney Croome said he wasn’t surprised by the Tasmanian government’s move.
It was never a possibility that the Labor government would support this reform at such an early stage of it being publicly discussed, Croome told the Star.
He said a committee inquiry was needed to open the issue to public debate.
It would give people who support same-sex marriage, not only in Tasmania but around the country, an opportunity to express their views and to push forward a compelling case for reform.
Once that inquiry has taken place, there’s no doubt in my mind that there’ll be increased public support for reform.
The Greens also continued to push for same-sex marriage in NSW. The party will discuss the issue with attorney-general Bob Debus next month.
Last week Debus said he’d been advised marriage is an exclusive power of the federal government, but the Greens hope to persuade him otherwise.
[We hope] Bob Debus gives us a definitive timetable as to when he’s going to introduce the same thing in NSW parliament, a spokesperson for NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon told the Star.
The Greens are planning a same-sex marriage community forum in Newtown prior to their meeting with the attorney-general.
Meanwhile, Clover Moore -“ in her capacity as Independent MP for Bligh -“ has again called for changes to NSW parenting law following recommendations from the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL).
Last October the then-Community Services minister, Carmel Tebbutt, said the recommendations would be examined in a legislative review of the Adoption Act in 2005.
Moore last week asked current Community Services minister, Reba Meagher, when this would occur.
The recommendations include amending the Adoption Act to make the definition of de facto partner gender-neutral. This would allow lesbian and gay parents to access step-parent adoption rights.
At present the Adoption Act defines a de facto relationship as one between a man and a woman.
Moore also called for the addition of a co-parenting provision to the Act so lesbian and gay co-parents can adopt.
At the time of going to print, Meagher’s office had not responded to the Star‘s inquiries about when or if the review would take place.
GLRL co-convenor David Scamell said he had yet to meet with Meagher but would continue to push for parenting reform.
We’re very much on top of the fact that they’ve promised a legislative review this year, and we’ll make sure it happens, Scamell said.
What we’ve been doing is really putting pressure on Reba Meagher through getting the community to respond via postcards, so she’s aware there’s widespread support for it.