HOBART City Council has become the latest local government area in Australia to pass a motion that official declared its support for marriage equality.
The motion, which called on the federal government to allow same-sex couples to marry, was passed with unanimous support during last night’s council meeting.
In addition, council will also advocate for a conscience vote on the issue to relevant political representatives.
Marriage equality advocates have welcomed the news, including Hobart resident and Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome.
“Hobart City Council has confirmed that our city is inclusive, and supports everyone being treated fairly and equality,” he said in a statement.
“I hope other councils around Tasmania and the nation are inspired to follow Hobart’s lead.”
Rainbow Communities Tasmania spokesperson Deidre Murray agreed.
“I’m ecstatic for my children and the other children of same-sex partners,” she said.
“Marriage equality is about recognising and supporting all families.
“I want to see a time when we no longer talk about gay marriage but marriage, not gay people but people.”
During the council meeting, Aldermen Damon Thomas and Tanya Denison expressed concern the motion was not core business yet supported it, partly because of strong community representations in favour.
Addressing their concern, Croome said: “Social inclusion is core council business and marriage equality is all about ensuring same-sex couples and their families are included in one of our most important social and legal institutions.”
Meanwhile, Alderman Anna Reynolds noted local government has led the way on marriage equality in other countries.
Alderman Eva Ruzicka highlighted the role of local government was to represent majority support for the reform, while Lord Mayor Sue Hickey drew a parallel between the inequities faced by same-sex couples and the stigma attached to unmarried motherhood when she attended a Catholic school in the 1970s.
Launceston City Council, also in Tasmania, recently debated a similar motion but it failed. Despite this, other regional or rural local government areas in Australia have shown official support for marriage equality. These include Geelong, Ballarat, Surf Coast, Byron Bay, Albury, and Wodonga.
Many councils in suburban areas of major cities have also passed motions in support of marriage equality.