Same-sex marriage bill fails in South Australia

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill

The bill failed despite being moved by a government backbencher and having the support of Labor Premier Jay Weatherill. Weatherill today told the state parliament today that not allowing same-sex couples to marry was a layer of discrimination that will be eventually removed. We have a responsibility to support legislation that will make our society more inclusive and tolerant, Weatherill said, I see no good reason why we should not act. ‘In practical terms what evidence is there that this change will have adverse consequences for our society? ‘The alternative is to allow the tides of history to continue to wash away [marriages] relevance to contemporary society. Opposition MPs from the Liberal and National parties were not allowed a conscience vote on the bill, but some said they opposed the idea of having same-sex marriage under state laws when heterosexual marriage was governed by federal law. I absolutely … want the Federal Government to legislate to recognize same-sex marriage in this country, former Liberal Opposition leader Isobel Redmond told the parliament. However she said trying to legalize same-sex marriage at a state level was, nothing but an attempt to politicize something which can’t be decided by this Parliament. Only 19 of the Lower Houses 47 MPs voted for the bill. Marriage equality advocates remain hopeful same-sex couples will be able to legally marry in South Australia despite today’s state Lower House vote as Greens MP Tammy Franks has a similar bill before the South Australian Upper House. There is another Bill before the State Upper House which we believe has a good chance of being passed if and when the Liberal Party allows a conscience vote, Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said. We will continue to campaign for marriage equality in South Australia, addressing the constitutional and social concerns raised in today’s debate. Our focus will be on introducing MPs to those South Australian couples and their families who urgently need this reform and who don’t have time to wait for the federal parliament to act. Croome said today’s defeat shows the importance of cross-party co-operation on marriage equality. I urge marriage equality supporters in all parties to put politics to one side and work more closely to build a cross-party coalition for reform, Croome said. Cross-party co-operation has been the key to achieving marriage equality in New Zealand and the UK and it will also be the key to moving forward at a state or federal level in Australia. In related news, marriage equality advocates say census data released today reinforces the case for marriage equality showing a doubling in the number of children being raised in same-sex parented households, while over 1,000 same-sex couples have indicated they are already married. The doubling in the number of children who are being raised by same-sex couples is a strong argument for marriage equality because discrimination in the law is currently denying these children the opportunity and benefits of having married parents, Croome said. The 1,300 same-sex couples who have indicated they are already married sends a message that at the very least Australia’s law against recognizing overseas same-sex marriages should be repealed. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 1,300 same-sex couples had recorded themselves as being married, and that the number of children being raised by same-sex couples has almost doubled from 2001 to 6,300 as of 2011. Croome said the ABS has acknowledged the actual numbers may be be much higher because many same-sex partners don’t want to indicate their relationship status on an official form or don’t know how to. I interpret the increase in same-sex couples as representing an increase in the confidence of same-sex partners to officially indicate their relationship rather than an actual increase in same-sex couples, Croome said. But there are still many same-sex partners who are wary of ticking the box that indicates they are in a relationship, or aren’t aware this is an option, including those from ethnic or lower socio-economic backgrounds. This is why I take statistics about same-sex couples having higher than average education and employment levels with a grain of salt. It is expected that the Australian state of New South Wales will release a report on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage laws being passed at a state level as soon as tomorrow. Related Terms:
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