In the NSW Parliament, I asked the Attorney General about advice on options to recognise overseas same-sex marriages in NSW, and NSW legislation to provide for same sex marriage, given the lack of progress at federal level.
The Prime Minister did not agree to my request for a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, and says that the Government will vote as a bloc on this matter. The lack of leadership from many representatives is disappointing, especially given increasing community support. Claims of support for the removal of discrimination but excluding marriage just don’t add up.
Latest polls say that 62 per cent of Australians support same-sex marriage. I support the community campaign for full equality, including in marriage.
According to the Attorney General, Tasmanian legislation only recognises overseas same sex marriages as a “registered relationship”. He says that marriage in Australia can only be recognised under the Commonwealth Marriage Act. The previous federal Government and opposition both supported amendments to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Following a meeting with Australian Marriage Equality representatives, I have committed to investigating NSW legislation to provide for same-sex marriage. This will require expert legal advice on constitutional provisions and the legal basis for State legislation.
I understand that bills to provide state marriage equality are listed for both Tasmania and South Australia, and I will investigate these models.
Same-sex marriage is allowed in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and some states in the United States of America.