Tasmania votes down same-sex marriage bill
Tasmania will not become the first Australian state or territory to legislate for same-sex marriage after the state’s Upper House today voted down a bill co-sponsored by Premier Lara Giddings and Greens Leader Nick McKim.
The Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2012 will fail to pass the Legislative Council this evening after only six MPs backed the bill in the Upper House with eight MPs already speaking against the bill.
Those to support the bill were Labor MP Craig Farrell and independents Kerry Finch, Ruth Forrest, Mike Gaffney, Tony Mulder and Rob Valentine.
Joining Liberal MP Vanessa Goodwin to vote against the bill were independents Jim Wilkinson, Paul Harriss, Rosemary Armitage, Adriana Taylor, Tania Rattray, Greg Hall and Ivan Dean.
Even if one more MP supported the bill, it was likely to be doomed with Legislative Council President Sue Smith earlier indicating she would side against the bill if it came to a deciding vote.
Debate on the bill, which passed the Lower House late last month, resumed shortly before midday after the chamber sat deep into the night on Wednesday.
Addressing the chamber first today, Elwick MLC Adriana Taylor, said though she “genuinely” struggled with how she would vote she could not support the bill.
“I think this is a sham. I wonder how many members of the same-sex community know how little this bill will do ... to recognise their union as the same as any other couple,” she said.
“This bill does not unfortunately contribute to that [cease discrimination].”
Huon MP Paul Harriss said he held grave concerns over a potential High Court challenge should the bill be passed.
“To enact this bill into law will be a bad process and thereby I am not prepared to support a second reading,” he said.
Launceston MLC Rosemary Armitage said the issue was not about homophobia or discrimination but about whether Tasmania should go it alone on same-sex marriage laws.
“If I thought it'd truly alleviate the suffering, I would support this bill,” she said.
“Differentiating is not discrimination.”
Nelson MLC James Wilkinson, who many tipped to support the bill, eventually said he could not bring himself to back the legislation.
“This is not a race. What you have to do is decide whether this bill is an appropriate bill at this time,” Wilkinson said.
“This debate, I believe, should be a federal issue.”
Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney said it was a sad day and that Tasmania had missed a great chance to introduce fairer laws.
“I feel as though we have missed a chance to right a wrong,” he said to applause from the public gallery. “I can only apologise ... Perhaps we are dinosaurs ... I am truly, truly sorry.”
REACTIONS TO COME FROM PREMIER LARA GIDDINGS AND GREENS LEADER NICK MCKIM