The state parliament for the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has voted for gay marriage by 22 to 16.
The private member’s motion tabled by Greens Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Cate Faehrmann was debated last week but adjourned until today because so many MLCs wanted to speak about the issue of same-sex marriage.
During today’s debate Labor MLC Helen Westwood spoke about how her children and grandchildren were not disadvantaged by the fact she is in a same-sex relationship.
But speaking against the motion that recommends a change to Australia’s 1961 marriage act, Liberal MLC Matthew Mason-Cox said same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy.
‘If one was to take the notion of equality of marriage to its logical conclusion, then there would be no reason to stand in the way of polygamist marriages, or other variants,’ Mason-Cox said, as reported by AAP.
At the vote however Mason-Cox’s view did not stand with MLCs from left and right voting for the motion.
The vote does not change the law in NSW but it puts pressure on the federal government to legalise same-sex marriage.
‘Yes, this was a symbolic motion, but it is immensely significant,’ said Faehrmann.
‘Every single step towards full equality is to be welcomed and congratulated enthusiastically. In the end, the arguments against marriage equality are based on personal and religious beliefs that have no place in our civil marriage laws. It’s time for full equality and the NSW Upper House has made that clear.’
Also today the federal government passed a motion that prevents religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, should they become legal, if they don’t believe in them.
Commenting on this, Alex Greenwich of Australian Marriage Equality said:
‘Today's motion confirms that people of faith have nothing to fear from marriage equality. Parliament has made it crystal clear that it will not force religious celebrants to act against their religious values and that churches will continue to be able to define marriage as they choose.’