Marriage equality advocates have expressed delight that the Tasmanian Lower House has today voted to endorse same-sex marriage.

The Assembly voted 13 in favour, nine against, for a motion calling for in-principle support for marriage equality and for the federal Government to reform the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry.

It’s the first time a state parliament has voted directly on the issue of marriage equality.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said the result sends a powerful message to the rest of the country.

“Today’s vote sends a compelling message to the federal Government that it’s time for all Australian couples to have legal equality,” Greenwich said.

“It also sends a message of hope to same-sex couples and their families that equality is coming and it is unstoppable.”

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome called on other state parliaments to follow Tasmania’s lead.

“If every state and territory parliament were to do what we have seen in Tasmania today it would be impossible for the federal parliament to continue to resist change,” Croome said.

“Some people think it’s remarkable that the last state to decriminalise homosexuality is now the state leading on full equality for same-sex couples but it makes perfect sense to me because Tasmanians remember the damage done by discrimination and prejudice and want to see everyone treated equally.”

Equal Love Victoria convenor Ali Hogg said she was “thrilled” with the result.

“This is a historic day for marriage equality,” Hogg said.

“The Tasmanian motion is a great start if we want to see full marriage equality in Australia.

“It is vital that we keep up the pressure on the ALP so hopefully their members follow suit with their Tasmanian colleagues and support marriage equality at their National Conference in December”

Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim and Tasmanian Labor Premier Lara Giddings led the way to speak in favour of marriage equality.

“We’ve come a long way since 1997 [when Tasmania decriminalised homosexuality], we now have the opportunity to go further and lead the nation,” Giddings said.

“Personal moral disapproval is not reason enough to allow discrimination to continue.”

McKim – who moved the motion – threatened if the federal Government does not act on marriage equality by early next year, the Greens will move to enact state legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Tasmania.

“Love doesn’t discriminate … but the law still does discriminate and unfortunately that prevents some people from marrying the person they love purely on the basis of sexuality and gender,” McKim said.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said the Liberal Party would not support the Greens motion claiming it was “inconsequential” and any changes to the Marriage Act were the responsibility of federal Parliament.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said the Liberal Party would not support the Greens motion claiming it was “inconsequential” and any changes to the Marriage Act were the responsibility of federal Parliament.

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