Marriage equality motion introduced in NSW
A motion calling upon the Federal Parliament to back marriage equality was introduced into NSW Parliament today, with debate on the motion now extended to take place next Thursday after a large number of Upper House MPs signalled they would be speaking on the issue.
Introducing the motion this morning, Greens MP Cate Faehrmann was at one point close to tears when speaking about her belief the state’s politicians had an “obligation” to represent the interests of all constituents, a majority of which support marriage equality.
“We as a parliament and as legislators, as mothers and fathers, as sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, as friends and community members, need to acknowledge that marriage discrimination is having a real impact in the community,” she said.
“Those of you who do not want same-sex marriage, that is fine, you do not have to enter into one.
“But please allow others the joy, the love the validation, the sanction that you are able to enjoy in your marriage or in other marriages that our society has blessed.”
Faehrmann's motion is similar to recently successful ones introduced in Tasmania and the ACT.
Coalition MPs have been granted a conscience vote on the motion as have Labor MPs.
Addressing the debate right after the motion’s introduction, Liberal MLC Marie Ficarra said she did not believe the lack of marriage equality was an issue of discrimination but more about protecting children.
“I am confident I speak for mainstream NSW, and indeed mainstream Australia, in opposing [same-sex marriage],” she said.
Unsurprisingly to most, Christian Democratic Party leader Fred Nile also said he would oppose the motion.
“It is not just because Fred Nile has some sort of reaction to homosexuals, or even to same sex marriages, my position is one based on my Christian faith and my Christian belief,” Nile said.
“It is an institution that has come to us for thousands of years, as designed by the creator almighty God.”
Nationals MP Trevor Kahn, who successfully added an amendment to today’s motion to prevent religious groups from being forced to conduct same-sex marriages, said allowing same-sex couples to wed would prove beneficial to the longstanding ritual.
“I don't support gay marriage despite being a conservative I support gay marriage because I am a conservative,” Kahn said.
“We shouldn’t just allow gay marriage, we should insist upon gay marriage, we should regard it as scandalous that two people who claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.”
Labor MP Penny Sharpe meanwhile made specific mention of how the introduction of marriage equality would benefit trans and intersex people, for whom the current laws mean their marriages could be deemed illegal should their legal gender in the future differ from identity documents at the time of marriage.
“Legislating for marriage equality will have zero effect on anyone else's marriage,” Sharpe said.
“It will provide legal stability and recognition for two people who are seeking to commit to each other for life.”
It is expected a vote will be taken on one of three marriage equality bills currently before Federal Parliament sometime in the second half of this year.