A historic motion which could see the Tasmanian parliament back marriage equality rights will be tabled today.
The motion comes as a new poll shows 59 percent of Tasmanians support marriage equality for same-sex attracted Australians, while 65 percent do not oppose it.
Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim will introduce the notice of motion today that would, if passed, make the Tasmanian Parliament the first in Australia to express in-principle support for marriage equality. It will also call on the Federal Parliament to reform the Marriage Act.
The motion is expected to be debated tomorrow (Wednesday).
“If this motion is passed, it will be a historic milestone for marriage equality in Australia,” McKim said.
“Tasmania could lead the way from being the last Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality to the first to endorse marriage equality, with all the social and economic benefits that would follow.
“The Greens believe the law needs to be changed to make same sex marriage legal, and it’s clear from the polls that most Australians agree. While the Greens’ motion would not legalise same sex marriage in Tasmania, it would send a strong signal to Federal Parliamentarians that they must get in step with community opinion on this issue.
“If we want to send a message that sexuality-based discrimination in our community is unacceptable, we need to remove the discrimination that remains entrenched in our laws. Marriage equality is something the majority of Tasmanians and Australians support. The passage of our motion this week would send a strong message that politicians are catching up to community opinion.
“The Greens have already tabled a package of cognate Bills in Parliament, and we will bring them on for debate should the Federal Parliament fail to act by the end of the year.”
In the event that Tasmania did legalise same-sex marriage under state law, the Federal Government would have no power to veto it.
Meanwhile, a statewide poll by ERMS research found that 65 percent of Tasmanians do not oppose marriage equality; 59 percent support it; 6 percent are unsure and only 35 percent are against.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome said the poll increases pressure on Labor and Liberal MPs to support McKim’s motion.
“Most Tasmanians understand that this issue isn’t about moral judgements or religious concerns but about love, commitment and family which are values all Tasmanians share and want to see affirmed,” Croome said in a statement.
“Our politicians talk a lot about ‘family values’, and here’s a chance for them to show the concept embraces same-sex couples and our children rather than excluding us or being threatened by us.
“Now it’s clear that Tasmanians say ‘yes’ to marriage equality it’s time for our state politicians to do the same.”
The poll was commission by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) and the Tasmanian Greens. AME spokesman Alex Greenwich is on his way to Tasmania today ahead of tomorrow’s expected debate.
“If the motion is successful it will send a powerful message to the federal government and to the ALP National Conference in December that it is time to move forward on this issue,” he said.
“I hope it will also encourage other states to follow Tasmania’s lead and represent what we know is majority community support for marriage equality across the nation with similar motions.”