NSW to introduce marriage equality bill
The NSW Cross Party Marriage Equality Working Group (consisting of Liberal, National, Greens, Labor and Independent Members) announced today they will introduce legislation next week to the NSW Legislative Council to allow same-sex marriage in NSW.
The Cross Party Working Group has been bolstered by the findings of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry which found NSW has the constitutional power to legislate on marriage. Constitutional Lawyer Bret Walker lent further support to the finding when he released a statement today confirming the validity of a NSW Bill.
“We consider that the NSW Bill seeks to create and regulate a new status called ‘same-sex marriage’ not the existing status of marriage, Accordingly… in our view, an act of the Form of the NSW Bill would not be inconsistent with the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth).”
National MLC The Hon. Trevor Khan said:“The detailed advice of George Williams and Bret Walker, along with the finding of the NSW Inquiry, should give MLCs the confidence they need to support this bill.”
In light of this recent advice and following further community consultation, The NSW Same Sex Marriage Bill will be introduced to parliament on October 31 by Labor MLC Penny Sharpe. Sharpe said the community can be confident that the cross party working group has done their due diligence.
“We have the strongest bill possible; one that will allow loving and committed same-sex couples to marry in NSW and one that will withstand any high court challenge.”
Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi commented:“Building on the momentum of the marriage equality campaign and the support for reform demonstrated in recent parliamentary inquiry, it is clear that the community is in favour of passing same sex marriage. We hope that our fellow Parliamentarians are getting the message.”
The Cross Party working group are hopeful the Bill will pass the Upper House upon which it will progress to the Lower House for a vote next year. Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith said: “The matter is rightly a conscience vote issue for the coalition and the Premier’s support for same-sex marriage demonstrates his strong respect for the gay and lesbian community; a respect shared by many coalition members.”
Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich stressed the importance of not rushing the legislation through the lower house.” [We need to] deal with any members concerns about the legislation in a respectful and thoughtful way. This will maximise the chances of this bill passing to allow same-sex couples to marry in NSW”