alex_rodneyIn response to New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell’s exclusive opinion piece in the Star Observer, two of the country’s leading voices on marriage equality, Alex Greenwich and Rodney Croome have reacted swiftly, suggesting that this is a “moral responsibility”.

Greenwich did not buy the New South Wales Premier’s argument that he and his wife enjoy national recognition, and so should all same-sex couples, noting his state can stand alone.

Greenwich also stressed the importance of O’Farrell as a lawmaker for the people in his state, with a duty to protect them.

“Whether it’s my  job, or the Premier’s job, as legislators our job is to provide protection for people within our state. We have the ability to provide the LGBTI community the right to marry. There is a moral obligation on us to do this particularly when this isn’t being done federally,” he said.

Greenwich also dissected the premier’s “patchwork quilt” argument where he says that different state could have different rules, laws and even be applicable to different ages, if states carry the day for same sex marriage.

“We have separate planning laws, tax laws and  criminal laws. National relationship laws nearly always start at a state level then move federally”, the independent member for Sydney explained.

National director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, also weighed in, saying that as long as the federal government refused to move forward on the reform the states should lead.

“According to reports today Mr O’Farrell, an in-principle supporter of same-sex marriage, believes the reform should occur at a national level so there is national consistency.

“In the absence of federal action on marriage equality the states have a moral responsibility to ensure all loving committed couples are treated equally,” Croome said.”The whole point of our federal structure is that when reform is blocked at one level it can progress at another.”

More to come on this developing story.

Penny Sharpe MLC, Labor Member of the NSW Cross Party Group on Marriage Equality, writes exclusively for the Star Observer  in print and online.

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