MARRIAGE equality advocates have welcomed Darwin City Council passing of a motion in of support marriage equality and have called on other Northern Territory councils to follow their lead.
The motion, passed during a council meeting last week, was a submission to the 2016 National General Assembly of Local Governments to put it on their agenda when it meets in June.
Darwin Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim told the Star Observer that council would also write to all NT Senators in the lead up to the federal election. asking them to prioritise the marriage equality debate and publicly speak in favour of legislating it.
“The [General Assembly of Local Governments] motion will probably go in general business as this year’s theme is ‘economics’ and will be debated if we have time,” Lim said.
“It was a very exiting time and it was Alderman R Want De Rowe who put the motion as an observation for the whole council to have an opportunity to consider the issues. It was a vocal public gallery which is quite unusual for the city of Darwin having the public observing a debate.
“It was a positive debate as well. I’m happy this motion has come forward and the council voted for it.”
Lim insisted it was the business of council to advocate change to the community despite it being a federal matter.
“We are clear we don’t have any role in the federal Marriage Act, however we still support the move to change the act by advocating for it to our federal politicians,” she said.
“It’s only a matter of writing letters and there’s no resources or budgets attached to it nor advertising campaigns. We’re lobbying and advocating the federal members.
“Other city councils should have the motion put forward and have the debate and test it to see if their council is willing to show leadership advocating for their community.”
Lim added that with Darwin Council putting the motion to the National General Assembly, there would be a debate across the nation’s local governments in Canberra.
“Darwin is a progressive and harmonious cosmopolitan community of 70 different ethnic groups including an alive Indigenous culture within a small population of 85,000,” she said.
Australian Marriage Equality national director welcomed the news from the Top End.
“Darwin Council’s decision sends a strong message to Canberra to get on with the job of passing this over due reform,” national director Rodney Croome said.