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South Australia move to formally slap New Zealand on the back for marriage equality

South Australia move to formally slap New Zealand on the back for marriage equality

While momentum towards same-sex marriage is stalled in Australia (it is unlikely the issue will be revisited before the general election on 14 September), one state has the opportunity to show its support for marriage equality.

Gerry Kandelaars, Labor Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) in South Australia will introduce a motion tomorrow (Wednesday 19 June) calling for the upper house to formally congratulate New Zealand on achieving marriage equality.

The vote will not change the law but will show it is an issue that South Australian politicians support.

‘Whilst the motion would not create any substantive benefits to same-sex couples in South Australia,’ said South Australian convener of Australian Marriage Equality Harley Schumann. ‘It is an important initiative and a strong sign of respect and admiration for the New Zealand parliament.’

Kandelaars is a long-term supporter of marriage equality. He used his maiden speech in the South Australian upper house in September 2011 to call for gay couples to have ‘their love recognized under our secular law’.

Referring to his daughter Katie and her partner Simone, Kandelaars said ‘in the eyes of the law, they are second-class citizens, which they are certainly not’.

South Australia has a same-sex marriage bill pending in state parliament, and unlike in federal parliament, both main parties have allowed their members to vote freely in a conscience vote on the issue.

‘Same-sex marriage is clearly an issue on which politicians should be entitled to vote according to their own personal choice and it is encouraging that both major parties have let their members do so in relation to this motion,’ said Schumann.

‘We hope that the major parties do not change their position on this and continue to allow a conscience vote when the SA Parliament deals with its own same-sex marriage Bill later this year.’