NSW's turn to debate same-sex marriage


By Greg Donnelly MLC, Parliament of New South Wales

Having failed to secure sufficient support for same-sex marriage in the Federal Parliament in September last year efforts by advocates and supporters are now being directed to state and territory legislatures.

The first cab off the rank was Tasmania. Legislation was introduced into the state parliament by Labor Premier Lara Giddings and The Greens MP Nick McKim in late August 2012. While the bill passed the lower house, it was defeated in the upper house by just two votes.

In November last year five NSW MLAs and MLCs announced that they were sponsoring a cross-party working group to develop a same-sex marriage bill. Members of the working group include Trevor Khan MLC (The Nationals), Penny Sharpe MLC (Labor Party), Cate Faehrmann MLC (The Greens), Bruce Notley-Smith MP (Liberal Party) and Alex Greenwich MP (Independent). Notices of motion were given in the Legislative Council on 20 November 2012 for a debate on a same-sex marriage bill.

Following this announcement the Premier, Barry O'Farrell wrote to the Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Social Issues with a Term of Reference requesting that the Committee inquire into same-sex marriage law in NSW. The inquiry has formally commenced and is progressing.

The inquiry is seeking submissions from the community. Submissions need to be made by close of business Friday, 1 March 2013.

Information about the inquiry including the Terms of Reference is available at the Committee's website: www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/samesexmarriage. The options for making submissions include online submissions, email or by post. Written submissions are to be sent to:

The Director
Standing Committee on Social Issues
Legislative Council
Parliament House
Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000

The Committee has also scheduled public hearings for 6 and 15 March 2013 at Parliament House.

It is vitally important that the members of the Committee examining this important matter get a comprehensive and balanced set of views and opinions from across the state. You should not assume that somebody else who shares your view about marriage will make a submission.

Submissions to the inquiry do not have a minimum length. They can be lengthy and detailed or short and to the point. Expressing your views and opinions about marriage in a few sentences or paragraphs and submitting them is a concrete way that you can participate in the inquiry.

I strongly encourage participation in the inquiry and the involvement of as many likeminded people as possible. Don't delay - get your submission in today.

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