Following Tasmania’s lead earlier this week, the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly has passed a motion in support of same-sex marriage.
The motion re-affirms the ACT’s historic support for same-sex marriage, with the territory’s attempt to legislate for same-sex unions at a state and territory level being quashed by the High Court in 2013.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the motion called on the Federal Government to let MPs “do their job” by voting for same-sex marriage and abandon plans for a plebiscite.
“Australia doesn’t need a divisive plebiscite, we just need the parliament to get on with it, but if the Liberals insist on having one, I will do everything I can to support the vote for marriage equality,” Chief Minister Barr said.
The Labor politician has a personal stake in the outcome. In his 2014 speech accepting the top job, he told his partner, Anthony Toms, that he loved him.
"I look forward to the day we can legally marry in this country," the Chief Minister said.
Liberal Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said he personally supported same-sex marriage, but that it was "no longer a matter for us as MLAs [Members of the Legislative Assembly].”
In 2013 the High Court struck down same-sex marriage laws passed by the ACT Government, ruling that federal laws excluding same-sex partners ‘covered the field’ and prevented states and territories from enacting their own legislation.
Australian Marriage Equality welcomed today’s announcement.
“We look forward to working with the Chief Minister and the Government as we work towards a pathway forward to equality,” spokesperson Shirleene Robinson said.
“Whatever the pathway, marriage equality is about the people we know and love, not politics. This is a straightforward issue about a fair go for every Australian”, she said.