Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will today move a motion to establish a Senate inquiry to review the Greens 2010 same-sex marriage bill.
On the first parliamentary sitting day of the year, Hanson-Young will move to establish a Senate committee to investigate the issue and offer the public a chance to have a say. It’s likely the motion will be voted on tomorrow.
“There’s been a lot of talk over the summer break about marriage equality, where this reform will get up to in this place this year, and I am optimistic that in 2012 that we will be able to… look back and have achieved marriage equality,” Hanson-Young said earlier today.
“But in order to do that we need to allow for a very open and transparent and honest debate.
“We know there are some people who don’t understand or don’t agree with removing this discrimination, a Senate inquiry on the bill will ensure the community has the opportunity to convince their members of parliament… why [this is an] important reform and why we should be allowing love the reign.”
The push for an inquiry, seen as a tactic to buy time for lobbyists to continue pushing the issue with MPs, was welcomed today by same-sex marriage advocates.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national convenor Alex Greenwich said the inquiry was a “winnable way forward.”
“Having spoken to supportive and undecided MPs in both major parties, we have identified a marriage equality inquiry as the best way to alleviate outstanding concerns about this reform,” Greenwich said.
“The inquiry will provide a forum to deal with issues raised by marriage equality like protecting religious freedoms, the inadequacy of civil unions and the constitutionality of reform.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) national spokeswoman Shelley Argent said the Senate inquiry would give parents a chance to have a say about the issue.
“The many thousands of Australian parents with gay sons and lesbian daughters welcome this inquiry as a way to have our voices heard,” Argent said.
“We can give our children everything they need in life, but only the Government can give them equality.”
The inquiry has also been welcomed by grassroots lobby group GetUp!, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Psychologists for Marriage Equality and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.