A LOCAL government in Melbourne’s inner-north passed a motion in its council meeting last night in support of same-sex marriage reform.

The motion (scroll down to read in full) also stated that the council, Moreland City Council, will commit to writing to all local federal MPs to support the matter as well — including Wills federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson, who does not yet support it.

The news comes just a day after a councillor in the City of Casey in Melbourne’s south east put forward a motion on Tuesday night that called for council to cease promoting anything LGBTI-related.

The motion was derailed after the council meeting was dissolved due to a lack of a quorum, but it will be re-introduced at another meeting tonight.

Convener of Wills for Marriage Equality, Shawn Callahan, congratulated the Council.

The City of Port Phillip, which is also in Melbourne’s metropolitan area, was also recently awarded the Rainbow Tick — an accreditation awarded to the council for participating in LGBTI awareness training with revising policies and procedures to be more inclusive and LGBTI-friendly.

A representative of Australian Marriage Equality (AME) congratulated Moreland City Council — which consists of suburbs such as Brunswick, Coburg, Pascoe Vale and Glenroy — for the motion that was passed last night.

“Polls show Australians overwhelmingly support marriage equality, and as the tier of government closest to the people Moreland Council is sending a message to MPs like Kelvin Thomson that it is time to listen to what the people want,” said Shawn Callahan, AME’s convenor for the Wills federal electorate.

“As a Labor member in a socially-progressive seat Mr Thomson has no excuses for failing to support marriage equality.

“I urge him to be on the right side of history and declare he will vote for marriage equality when it next comes before parliament.”

AME national director Rodney Croome called on other councils to follow Moreland City Council’s lead.

“Several Victorian councils have already taken the lead by passing motions calling on local MPs to vote for marriage equality, including Geelong and Yarra Cities and Surf Coast and Hepburn Shires,” he said.

“I urge other councils across Australia to endorse marriage equality and do all they can to ensure their local member votes for the reform.”

The Moreland City Council motion in full:

CI101/14 MARRIAGE EQUALITY Cr Samantha Ratnam

Cr Ratnam advised Council that several Councils including City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Hepburn Shire, Hobsons Bay, Yarra City Council and City of Melbourne have recently passed resolutions to give their public support to marriage equality. This resolution is an important statement of support and advocacy for those who are denied the right to marry under current legislation.
Cr Ratnam moved, Cr Bolton seconded that Council resolve to –
  1. Publicly support marriage equality irrespective of sex or gender identity.
  2. Writes to local Federal Members of Parliament and the Commonwealth Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission advising them of council’s support; and
  3. Writes to all political parties with representation in the Federal Parliament encouraging them to prioritise debating changes to the Marriage Act and allow a conscience vote on marriage equality.

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