New South Wales is now joining Tasmania, South Australia, ACT, Victoria and Western Australia all progressing with state-based legislation for marriage equality.
NSW, Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell says he’ll allow a conscience vote on the issue when a newly-announced cross-party Bill is produced in the state’s Parliament later this year.
Labor, Liberal, Nationals, Greens and Independent MPs will all join forces to help progress state based same-sex marriage laws, reveals the Sydney Morning Herald today.
“In a joint statement, the Liberal MP for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith, the upper house members Trevor Khan (National), Penny Sharpe (Labor), Cate Faehrmann (Greens) and the lower house independent Clover Moore said they wanted to work together to legalise same-sex marriage,” confirms the Herald.
O’Farrell himself would not confirm whether or not he’d support the Bill himself. He has previously advocated Civil Union legislation as a compromise.
Australia’s recent Census suggested that New South Wales is the state with by far the most gay couples living in it.
NSW’s announcement comes as the debate for marriage equality is likely to wrap up today with a very close vote. Catch up on the debate here.
Marriage equality campaigner Alex Greenwich welcomes O’Farrell’s conscience vote decision, and calls on opposition leader Tony Abbott to follow his lead and grant a free vote on the reform in Federal Parliament.
“O’Farrell respects the Liberal tradition of granting free votes on such issues,” Greenwich reacts. “It’s time Tony Abbott allowed his federal Liberal members the opportunity to join the majority of Australians and support a reform that will strengthen couples, families and communities.”