Tasmania’s Parliament has given tri-partisan support to same-sex marriage in a motion designed to send a message to the Federal Government.
Tasmania is the third state parliament in Australia to support marriage equality.
After an extended debate, which went late into Wednesday night, the state’s Lower House voted 15 to nine in favour of supporting marriage equality.
For the first time on the public record, Liberal frontbencher Jeremy Rockliff came out strongly in support of same-sex marriage.
“I really welcome the opportunity to express my views for the first time publicly, and I’m absolutely unequivocally in favour of same-sex marriage equality,” he said.
“I have been for some years now.
“I believe very firmly that those who are committed and in a loving relationship should have the ability by law and the eyes of the law in society that if they have chosen a significant other to spend the rest of their lives with then they should be able to get married.
“In years to come we will actually really wonder why it took so long to get to this point.”
Most of the MPs who voted against the Bill based their opposition on religious grounds.
Liberal MP Guy Barnett said he strongly opposed same-sex marriage.
“Children deserve to grow up with at least the chance of a mum and a dad; same-sex marriage would deny them that right,” he said.
“If same-sex marriage is passed we will enter in my view a whole new era, an era where gender will not matter anymore.
“A whole new era where we have an environment which undermines marriage itself and violates the rights of the child.”
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman threw his support behind the motion.
While reiterating that marital law is a matter for the Commonwealth, the Premier said he personally supported marriage equality.
“We live in a world that contains non-traditional relationships, de facto, single-parent, significant relationships, same-sex relationships,” he said.
“I don’t believe… same-sex marriage in 2015 will affect the sanctity of the institution of marriage.
“I intend to vote in support at the national plebiscite in support of same-sex marriage.”