The Tasmanian House of Assembly will vote on a Greens motion that make the Tasmanian Parliament the first in Australia to express in-principle support for marriage equality.

Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim will introduce a notice of motion, which will also call on the Federal Parliament to reform the Marriage Act, on Tuesday – with debate and a vote on the motion expected on the 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.”

The Tasmanian Greens have previously tabled bills which would legalise same-sex marriage under state law should the Federal Government fail to act, and did not rule out doing so again.

In the event that Tasmania did legalise same-sex marriage under state law, the Federal Government would have no power to veto it.

“It is clear from the legal advice of leading Australian constitutional law expert Professor George Williams that Tasmania can legislate on marriage equality. If the Federal Parliament fails to end this discrimination, Tasmania has the constitutional capacity to go it alone,” McKim said.

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