A same-sex marriage bill that is currently the subject of a senate inquiry in the Australian parliament has become ‘the most strongly supported Bill in the nation's history’ according to advocates.
Campaign group Australian Marriage Equality (AME) say that at least 45,000 submissions in favour of same-sex marriage were sent to the senate inquiry into the issue, four times more than the overall number of submissions received by the next largest inquiry into the Northern Territory Euthanasia Bill in 1997.
AME said that before the submission deadline at 5pm yesterday 28,000 submissions were made through their website. An additional 17,000 statements supporting gay marriage were made through the website of activist organisation Get Up! And more submissions were made directly to the committee responsible.
National convener of AME, Alex Greenwich said the record-breaking number of submissions reflected how engaged Australians have become with the issue.
‘The number of submissions proves that active support for marriage equality has grown exponentially over the past few years,’ Greenwich said. ‘Australians don't just support marriage equality, they support it passionately.’
Due to the volume received, the Australian parliament have not been able publish all the submissions on their website as they usually do, but they have published a selection, including statements from the Christian Life Centre, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Amnesty International Australia, The Humanist Society of Victoria and the Family Council of Victoria.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who brought the marriage equality bill to parliament, said in a statement that she welcomes the enthusiasm for the change in the law.
‘This is the most popular bill in the history of the parliament because Australians care deeply about marriage equality and wanted their elected representatives to know it,’ said Hanson-Young. ‘Australians have made their voices clear - now it’s up to parliamentarians from both sides to listen to them and act accordingly.’
The legal and constitutional affairs committee is due to report its recommendations to parliament on 6 June, followed by an MPs’ vote on the bill.