Western Australian Liberals allow Greens state gay marriage bill to move forward

The Liberal president of the Western Australia state Legislative Council has ruled that a Greens Party bill that would allow same-sex marriages at a state level can be considered by the chamber

Western Australian Liberals allow Greens state gay marriage bill to move forward
20 February 2014

A bill to allow same-sex marriages at a state level cleared its first hurdle in the Western Australia state Parliament on Tuesday with the Liberal Party’s President of the Legislative Chamber ruling not to withdraw the Same-Sex Marriage Bill introduced by Greens Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Lynn MacLaren late last year.

‘There is no provision that I can see in either this State’s constitutional arrangements or the Commonwealth Constitution which would prevent this House from considering the bill introduced by Hon Lynn MacLaren,’ Legislative Council President and Liberal MLC Barry House said.

MacLaren welcomed the move, and said she believed her bill could survive challenge in the courts in a way that the Australian Capital Territory’s same-sex marriage bill had not.

The Australian Capital Territory’s law was struck down by the High Court of Australia in December of last year – with the court finding it unconstitutional.

However Australian states have greater autonomy when it comes to passing their own laws and it remains to be seen if a state law would be ruled unconstitutional by the High Court.

‘[House’s] ruling means that the state can properly consider adopting same-sex marriage, if successful WA will become the first Australian state to pass same-sex marriage legislation that is better built to resist a High Court challenge,’ MacLaren said.

‘Shortly after I introduced my bill before the summer break it was requested by an opposing member that it be withdrawn on unsubstantiated grounds. Thankfully the President saw that my bill stands separate from any invalid arguments that proposed WA state marriage law cannot coincide with the Federal Marriage Act.

‘I have worked with constitutional lawyer George Williams and other stakeholders on the issue to ensure that this bill has the best chance of surviving. My fantastic team have ensured this state bill does not contravene with federal legislation.’

MacLaren said she looked forward to the Parliament debating her bill which seeks to allow same-sex couples to marry while the Australian Government refuses to act on the issue.

The Australian states deferred the responsibility for heterosexual marriage to the Australian Government in 1961 so even if a state law for same-sex marriage is passed there will not be complete equality until the Australian Government acts on the reform.

‘This is an exciting milestone for same-sex couples that want to feel like any other Australian family where marriage is an accessible symbol of lifelong commitment,’ MacLaren said.

‘I look forward to debating this bill and building cross party support on the issue.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gaydar fights back with mobile web service

Gaydar responds to strong competition in gay men’s smartphone dating market with release of new service and promises changes to Gaydar Girls soon
No thumbnail available

Sara Gilbert praises Spirit Day as she and cohosts on The Talk wear purple on air

'Support like this makes people feel okay being who they are'
No thumbnail available

Robbie Rogers would love to see 'someone like Chris Pratt' play him in TV series based on his life

'It’s gotta be someone funny, someone who doesn’t care and someone very masculine; someone you wanna grab a beer with'
No thumbnail available

Archbishop Welby in more secret talks with gay Christians

LGBT Christians have met the new head of the Church of England. And gay Christians are also meeting with bishops in Nigeria and Kenya, it has emerged
No thumbnail available

IOC officials seeking 'further clarification' from Russia on anti-gay laws and the Olympics

'We don't understand all the details because of probably a difficulty in translation'
No thumbnail available

Anti-gay lawyer arrested for teen camera sex

Attorney is facing charges of taking a teenage girl to Canada and coercing her to engage in sex on film
No thumbnail available

The two sides of Turkey: A country divided on LGBTIs

For many in the Middle East, Turkey is a safe haven for LGBTI people. But the gay and trans population still faces great hatred and real danger
The Dinah Vegas diaries: Sin City turns sapphic

The Dinah Vegas diaries: Sin City turns sapphic

25,000 gay girls recently descended on Las Vegas for a weekend of fun and frolics – here, journalist Lauren Jow proves what happens in Vegas certainly doesn't stay in Vegas...
No thumbnail available

London gay men warned crystal meth is causing HIV spike

Doctors are calling it a 'public health nightmare', with a disproportionate number of gay and bisexual men having unprotected sex while they're high
No thumbnail available