TASMANIA, Australia, October 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tasmania’s lower House of Assembly has become the first Australian parliament to pass a motion backing homosexual ‘marriage.’
The same-sex marriage motion that passed 13-9 on Sept 21 was put forward by Green leader and Education Minister Nick McKim. It called for “in-principle support for marriage equality” and for the Australian Government to amend the Commonwealth Marriage Act to include homosexual ‘marriage’ in the name of “marriage equality.”
The motion is in conflict with Australia’s Marriage Amendment Bill of 2004, which states that,” Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” The Marriage Bill also specifies that certain unions are not marriages and therefore cannot be recognized as such in Australia, including unions solemnized in foreign countries between two men or between two women.
The Labour Party supported the new motion, while the Liberal Party voted against it.
Leader of the Opposition Will Hodgman said the Liberal Party would not support the motion, calling it “inconsequential” and “political grandstanding,” and pointing out that changes to the Marriage Act were the responsibility of the Commonwealth of Australia.
“Our clear and consistent position is that we support the definition of marriage as contained within the Marriage Act, a piece of Commonwealth legislation, a creature of the national Parliament itself, not the State Parliament of Tasmania,” he said.
“We do strongly support the institution of marriage and its value in our community, and the benefits of marriage in bringing social cohesion as a foundation of the family, and indeed, that which benefits children, both born and those who will be born from a marriage.”
Minister for Human Services Cassy O’Connor, who voted in favour of the motion, said she felt “sick” after listening to Hodgman’s speech, and accused him of espousing “bigotry.” Hodgman replied that “any attack from those in the community against those who strongly support the institution of marriage as bigoted or homophobic, is as offensive as it is wrong.”
McKim plans to bring “marriage equality” legislation to Tasmania’s Parliament by early next year.
“Love does not discriminate; it can strike young or old, black or white, gay, lesbian or heterosexual,” McKim told the house on the day the motion was passed. With the help of legal advice from Professor George Williams, a constitutional expert in Australia, McKim has concluded that there is “constitutional space” for states to “create a state based same-sex marriage framework.”
With the Greens lacking Legislative Council members, and with the Leader of Government Business in the upper house stating his opposition to the motion, it remains to be seen if it will ever be tabled, SkyNews reports.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, while endorsing the pro-homosexual motion, has said that the state cannot “go it alone” in challenging the definition of marriage “because the Marriage Act is very much a commonwealth piece of legislation.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also stated numerous times that she does not support legalizing gay ‘marriage’ in Australia.
Last March, Gillard said that there are “some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future,” adding that “for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status.”
“It’s not only [about] changing the definition of marriage, its [about] changing the definition of what parenting is,” Tasmanian State Director Mark Brown told 6PR’s Howard Sattler. “It’s [about] saying gender doesn’t matter in the life of a child and how it is raised.”
“This has implications for the whole of society.”