Victoria and Tasmania look set to battle it out to be the first states to legislate in favour of same-sex marriage in Australia.
Greens candidate Brian Walters has told The Age newspaper he will introduce a private member’s bill to allow same-sex marriage if he wins a seat at the state election on November 27.
Walters is standing in the seat of Melbourne, currently held by Education Minister Bronwyn Pike, who also supports same-sex marriage.
Last week Victorian Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik told Southern Star Observer the party was looking seriously at tackling the issue at a state level, following remarks from constitutional law expert, Professor George Williams, on the ability of state governments to legislate on marriage, providing there is no conflict with federal law.
“For most of the community it’s like ‘of course, lets just do it and move on’,” she said.
Although Pennicuik said the party would wait to see what happened at a federal level with the Greens’ Marriage Equality Bill, Walters has gone a step further with his promise of introducing legislation.
However, Tasmania is already one step ahead of Victoria.
Tasmania Greens leader Nick McKim is set to introduce a bill to Tasmanian Parliament this week which would allow for same-sex marriage in the southern state.
Tasmanian Labor Premier David Bartlett has said he will not support McKim’s bill because he believes marriage is a federal issue, but said he had no personal opposition to same-sex marriage.
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich welcomed news states were taking on the issue of marriage equality.
“The support from all sides of politics and at state and federal levels proves that marriage equality is not the fringe or protest issue it has wrongly been labelled as, but a mainstream issue that is about love and equality.”