Australian marriage equality campaigners are hopeful that the state of South Australia can become the first jurisdiction to pass same-sex marriage laws following a defeat in the state of Tasmania.
Legislation passed successfully through Tasmania’s Lower House of Parliament but was defeated in the Upper House this week in a vote of 8 to 6.
Marriage equality advocates have welcomed the announcement of a timetable for the introduction of state same-sex marriage legislation in South Australia, saying it shows the issue is alive and well.
South Australian Social Inclusion Minister Ian Hunter, who is himself an openly gay man who plans to marry his long term partner before the end of the year in Spain, has said that legislation will be introduced early in 2013 and he expects the South Australian law to be the first to be passed and tested in the High Court.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome welcomed the move.
‘Marriage equality supporters across the country will be heartened by South Australia's commitment on this issue,’ Croome said.
‘Opponents of marriage equality who constantly predict the death of the issue are utterly out of the touch with the majority of Australians who want to to see their gay and lesbian friends and family members treated equally under the law.’
‘The fact marriage equality came so close to being passed in Tasmania has given supporters of reform immense encouragement.’
In the mean time, Tasmanian marriage equality supporters will be pushing for a parliamentary inquiry into the constitutionality of state based same-sex marriage legislation after opponents circulated a legal opinion by an ant-same-sex marriage lawyer to Upper House members before the vote.