News - Oz
Australia's last state to decriminalise homosexuality may become it's first state to legalise same sex marriage
Category: Marriage Equality Written by Robert Manser
Australia's last state to decriminalise homosexuality may be the first to legalise same sex marriage if their Government has anything to do with it - going against the their Federal counterparts and leading the way on the issue of Equality for Australians.
Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, said the time had come to end discrimination against same-sex couples.
The legislation would be drafted to allow gay and lesbian couples from interstate to be married in Tasmania, something that Ms Giddings said would be an economic boon for the state.
She told the state Labor conference in Hobart yesterday that she would introduce the legislation by the end of the year.
"There will always be excuses, arguments and questions of timing when moving on difficult and controversial issues," Ms Giddings said.
"But just as we have responded to other forms of discrimination throughout history, there comes a time when no amount of excuses should stand in the way of doing what is right."
It looks as though the State has found a loophole to go against the federal parliament, which altered the Marriage Act under John Howards Prime Ministership to be defined as between a Man and a Woman only back in 2004. The states had the power to legislate on marriage until 1961 when the power became concurrent with that of the Commonwealth.
This means the states can legislate in areas not covered by the Commonwealth law. The parliamentary Labor Party in Tasmania has obtained advice from the Solicitor-General that said a state could introduce its own legislation.
The federal Attourny General, Nicold Roxon has commented, saying that the Federal Labor Government "remains committed to a conscience vote on gay marriage." Unfortunately the opposition, currently lead by Mr Tony Abbott has gone against his own parties traditions of allowing individual votes, and has forced members to vote along party lines - which is a firm No to Equality.
Australia will see another round of National rallies in the coming weeks (see our what on guide for locations and date).