Tasmania’s Lower House has passed the state government’s same-sex marriage bill in a vote of 13 to 11.

The often emotional debate on the bill lasted almost five hours before a final vote.

Premier Lara Giddings opened debate, telling Parliament the legislation would send a strong message to young gay men and women that they are valued and equal members, and that moral disapproval was no reason to deny or curtail another’s rights.

“Times move on, times change and I fundamentally believe that across Australia we have reached a tipping point,” she said.

Greens leader Nick McKim said laws that discriminate just a bit “are still discriminatory laws”.

While many Labor and Greens MPs gave speeches in favour of the bill, few Liberal Party MPs spoke about their decision to vote against it.

Giddings and McKim introduced their co-sponsored bill into the House of Assembly on Tuesday.

The bill’s passage through the Upper House is still unclear but will not be debated for some weeks due to a parliamentary break.

About half of the 15-member Upper House have not declared their intentions.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome, who many MPs thank during speeches in support of the legislation, said on Tuesday that he was proud the state was leading the way on marriage equality.

“This reform will help build stronger relationships and families in Tasmania, as well as increase pressure on the other states and federal government to follow,” he said.

Last night, Tasmania’s Upper House passed laws that will allow gay and de facto couples to use a surrogate in order to have a child.

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