A senate inquiry into legalizing gay marriage in Australia has revealed 'unprecedented' support for reform.
Figures released today (13 April) by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee show that almost 60% of Australians are in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, with 44,000 out of 75,000 submissions in favor.
'The unprecedented level of support for this legislation reflects the fact that a majority of Australians support marriage equality and support is passionate,' said Alex Greenwich, national convenor for campaign group Australian Marriage Equality.
'The take-home message for our federal politicians is that the Australian public wants this reform and wants it now.'
Greenwich claims the figures show the bill is the most popular legislation ever to come before the Australian Parliament.
However, the proposals have faced fierce opposition from right-wing politicians and Christian lobbyists.
Addressing the House of Representatives committee in Sydney on Thursday (12 April), Dr David Phillips, national president of Family Voice Australia, likened gay marriage to incest.
'I rather liked my cousin, and I was told that's really not recommended, so we had a discussion in the family about those things. You can even marry an uncle, from memory,' he said, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
He went on to claim that gays can be cured.
The Australian Christian Lobby also claimed that submissions to the inquiry sent via online platforms were less well 'reasoned' and 'thoughtful'.
However, Greenwich dismissed the lobby as 'desperate'.
He said: 'It's rather desperate for the ACL to claim that a submission is more "reasoned" and "thoughtful" simply based on the medium it was submitted through.
'As the senate inquiry itself has acknowledged, many of those people who sent a submission through websites like AME's and Get Up's included their personal stories about why marriage equality is important to them and their families.
'These personal stories, some of which have already been published by the Senate inquiry, make a compelling case for reform.'