Greens confirm Senate inquiry into marriage
Upon the first sitting of Federal Parliament for the year, The Greens have announced they will move today for a Senate inquiry into marriage equality, with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s 2010 bill on same-sex marriage to receive further investigation.
Marriage equality advocates have welcomed the move as a means to help build up support on the issue before a private member’s bill on marriage equality is voted on by MPs later in the year.
Speaking to reporters in Canberra, Hanson-Young (pictured) said that there was a good chance that Australians would be celebrating marriage equality by the end of 2012.
“We know that there are some people who still don’t understand or don’t agree with the idea of removing this type of discrimination,” Hanson-Young said.
“I am absolutely optimistic that we have a very good chance by the end of this year to be able to look back and say, ‘We did it’.”
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich said that a Senate inquiry would prove to be a “winnable way forward”.
“Having spoken to supportive and undecided MPs in both major parties, we have identified a marriage equality inquiry as the best way to alleviate outstanding concerns about this reform,” Greenwich said.
“The inquiry will provide a forum to deal with issues raised by marriage equality like protecting religious freedoms, the inadequacy of civil unions and the constitutionality of reform.”
National spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Shelley Argent, said the inquiry would provide an opportunity for the “many thousands” of parents of gay sons and daughters to have their voices heard.
“We can give our children everything they need in life, but only the Government can give them equality,” she said.
Other groups to welcome the Senate inquiry include GetUp!, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Psychologists for Marriage Equality and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.