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New South Wales gay marriage report pushing reform in other states

New South Wales gay marriage report pushing reform in other states

South Australia may vote again on same-sex marriage, but this time it is likely Opposition MPs will be given a conscience vote on the issue – meaning the bill may pass.

Last week South Australian Opposition leader Steven Marshall told The Australian newspaper that he would allow his MPs a conscience vote on the issue if a New South Wales (NSW) state parliamentary inquiry found that states could legislate for same-sex marriage – and on Friday the committee did just that.

Marshall told News Ltd. papers today that he was yet to consider the full details of the report but added, ‘If there’s a need to revisit our party room position then we’ll do that.’

The South Australian Parliament voted down a bill which would have allowed same-sex marriage last week but Opposition MPs did not have a conscience vote.

Only 5 Opposition MPs would need to exercise their conscience in voting for the bill for it to pass.

If passed, South Australia would become the first Australian jurisdiction to perform and recognize same-sex marriage.

The NSW parliamentary report has also been seized on by marriage equality campaigners in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which houses the national capital, Canberra.

‘State and Territory legislators have long questioned the ability of the states to create marriage laws for same sex couples and … with the findings from the NSW Inquiry, we have renewed confidence that marriage equality can also be achieved on a state and territory level,’ Australian Marriage Equality deputy national director and ACT Marriage Equality convener Ivan Hinton said.

‘The social recognition of marriage is undeniable and the committee acknowledges that and any system designed to intentionally prevent access to the socially recognised language of marriage will never achieve true equality

‘With the Bureau of Statistics Census data, released yesterday, identifying the ACT as having the highest proportion of same sex couples in Australia the focus now turns to the ACT Government to renew its commitment to make Canberra the fairest, most inclusive community in Australia.’

Hinton said he believed there were enough votes in the territory’s single house of government to pass the bill.

‘We now have a Legislative Assembly that has the numbers to support our own marriage equality bill as well as leadership and support from Federal Labor,’ Hinton said.

‘We have never been in a better position to move on marriage equality as we now find ourselves.’

The report may also be influential on members of the Tasmanian Upper House who voted against passing a same-sex marriage bill in September last year.

Another bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the island state was introduced in March.