Tasmanian parliament backs gay marriage

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The Tasmanian parliament’s House of Assembly has backed gay marriage, putting pressure on the federal Labor government to follow suit.

This is the first time a house in any Australian parliament has voted in favour of marriage equality. Tasmania only voted to legalise homosexuality in 1997.

Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim said: “Labor and the Greens have come together to advance this cause, in another vindication of the outcomes achievable from collaboration in a power sharing Parliament.”

“It’s time for this debate to now move from Tasmania to the national stage. It’s time for the federal government to change our nation’s laws and provide for marriage equality for all Australians, regardless of gender, regardless of sexuality.”

Federal Labor will debate the issue of gay marriage at its December conference. Prime minister Julia Gillard is against gay marriage.

The party’s Queensland, Tasmania, West Australia, South Australia, Victoria, ACT and Northern Territory branches have all passed motions in support of marriage equality.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman, Rodney Croome, called on other state parliaments to follow Tasmania’s lead.

“If every state and territory parliament were to do what we have seen in Tasmania today it would be impossible for the federal parliament to continue to resist change,” he said.

“If Tasmania can do this the other states and territories can do it too.”

“Some people think it’s remarkable that the last state to decriminalise homosexuality is now the state leading on full equality for same-sex couples but it makes perfect sense to me because Tasmanians remember the damage done by discrimination and prejudice and want to see everyone treated equally.”