South Australian Greens MLC Tammy Franks has reintroduced a marriage equality bill in South Australia’s Parliament.
If passed, the bill would allow same-sex couples in the state to marry.
Reintroducing the bill on Valentine’s Day, Franks said she wanted to keep the issue on the agenda.
“Legal advice shows states can legislate in this area,” she told the Star Observer.
“If we can’t get change at a federal level, we will move where we can until eventually we get federal laws that cover all Australians’ right to marry a consenting adult.”
The bill, co-sponsored by now Minister for Social Inclusion Ian Hunter, was first introduced after the South Australian Labor Party endorsed marriage equality at its state conference in 2010.
A similar bill is also currently before Tasmania’s Parliament.
Franks said she would not push for a vote until after debate has played out in the federal arena. Three same-sex marriage bills are currently before federal Parliament.
Franks admitted if the bill passed, she would expect the law to be challenged in court.
“It would probably be challenged in a court, but we’re reasonably confident [of] the advice from [constitutional lawyer] George Williams … that in the constitution under Australian law, states do in fact have the ability to legislate around marriage.”
South Australian Liberal Party leader Isobel Redmond and Labor Premier Jay Weatherill have both declared their support for same-sex marriage.
Redmond has indicated Liberal MPs will be allowed a conscience vote on the issue.
Australian Marriage Equality national spokesman Alex Greenwich welcomed the bill’s reintroduction.
“My hope is that the federal Parliament will enact marriage equality this year, but if that doesn’t happen, Tammy Franks’ bill is a timely reminder that the state parliaments are free to move forward on this important issue,” he said.
“A South Australian Liberal conscience vote also sends a strong message to the federal Coalition about the importance of MPs voting according to their individual values.”