Tasmanian marriage equality supporters protested outside the office of a legislator who voted against a same-sex marriage law last month.
A marriage equality bill was narrowly defeated in the Tasmanian upper house on 27 September, when eight members of the legislative council (MLCs) opposed the bill to six who supported it.
Advocates had hoped independent MLC Adriana Taylor would support the bill but during her speech she said she would oppose it. She said ‘marriage is deeply valued by sections of the community and that needs to be respected’ and that the bill would not give equal recognition to same sex couples.
Fifty people gathered outside Taylor’s office in the northern suburbs of Hobart today.
‘The rally sent a message to Adriana Taylor that there is strong support for marriage equality in the northern suburbs and that by opposing it she does not speak for us,’ said organizer Robbie Moore.
Sharon Carners, alderman of Glenorchy City, part of the area Taylor represents (Elwick), addressed the crowd saying the MLC’s vote did not reflect the values of her electorate.
‘As a resident of Adriana Taylor's electorate I don't believe she consulted the community sufficiently on this important issue and I expect her to consult more before the next time it is voted on,’ Carners said.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the narrow defeat of the vote for ‘such poor reasons’ has galvanized the second round of the marriage equality debate in the state.
‘A majority of Tasmanians want our state to allow same-sex couples to marry and we will continue to campaign for as long as it takes,’ he said.
Most of the MLCs who voted against the bill last month cited concerns about the constitutional foundation of states creating their own marriage law. This was influenced by some last-minute legal advice which advocates say was biased against marriage equality.
Independent MLC Ruth Forrest who introduced and supported the same-sex marriage bill in Tasmania’s upper house is expected to argue for an inquiry into the constitutional validity of state marriage laws.