Australia: Tasmania equal marriage efforts fail again as bill is narrowly defeated

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Equal marriage efforts in Tasmania have failed for a second time, as an attempt to reintroduce a bill to allow same-sex marriages failed in the state’s upper house.

The measure was introduced by independent member Ruth Forrest, however it was defeated 8 votes to 6.

It was thought that Tasmania would become the first state to allow same-sex marriage, as a bill passed in its lower house last year, however the upper house voted down the bill, also 8-6.

The Australian Capital Territory legalised equal marriage earlier this month. Forrest said that new legal advice had suggested that Tasmania would also be able to pass its own laws on equal marriage.

“Even though the Commonwealth has covered the field of marriage, there is no potential conflict with same-sex marriage and therefore no question of constitutional invalidity,” she said, speaking to the house.

“If we refuse to debate it, we’ll look increasingly out of step with a society that is willing to grapple with this issue,” Forrest continued.

Equal marriage advocates vowed to fight on, but those opposed to it hailed the bill’s demise a victory.