Federal marriage bill to be debated tomorrow
The debate on Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s marriage equality bill will get underway in the Federal Senate tomorrow.
“With support for same-sex marriage at its highest ever now is the right time to kick off serious consideration of my marriage equality bill in the Senate,” Hanson-Young said.
“The Greens' marriage equality bill in the Senate has the strongest cross party support and it’s time to get the ball rolling in the Federal Parliament on this inevitable reform.
“The Senate inquiry into my bill reported back with a clear recommendation that federal marriage laws be changed to give all people the right to marry, which was endorsed by Senators from all parties.”
Hanson-Young said she will refer Senators to the momentum in support for marriage equality that has been witnessed with the Tasmanian and South Australian Premiers.
"I hope all Senators will approach the debate with an open mind to give my bill the best chances of finally allowing equality for all couples in Australia, regardless of their sexuality or the state they live in,” she said.
“The majority of Coalition voters who support marriage equality want Tony Abbott to allow his MPs a conscience vote on the issue in both houses of Federal Parliament and stop delaying the inevitable.”
Advocates have welcomed the move to debate the same-sex marriage bill but have called for opponents of same-sex marriage to debate in a mature and respectful way.
“We hope those opposed to reform do not waste the Senate's time to promote fear and misinformation,” Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said.
“The strong recommendation from the recent senate inquiry coupled with high support for reform in the senate will give the bill a fighting chance of passing.
“With respected advocates such as Simon Birmingham, Penny Wong, and Sarah Hanson-Young sitting in the senate we can be assured the voices of a majority of Australians will be heard.”
Greenwich added he was hopeful the marriage equality bill would be co-sponsored by senators from all political parties.
“It will send a strong message of acceptance to gay and lesbian Aussies if the bill is co-sponsored by Senators from across the political spectrum,” he said.
“Tony Abbott has an opportunity to up hold a Liberal Party tradition and grant a conscience vote. This will allow members of party to vote with, rather than against, the aspirations of a clear majority of Australian voters.”
At present, 30 senators have declared their support for marriage equality while only 20 are opposed. 26 senators are said to be undecided.
Photo: Alex Proimos