The New South Wales Parliament today unanimously supported a priority motion from Alex Greenwich MP, the Independent Member for Sydney, designed to call on the Federal Coalition to back a free vote on proposed marriage equality legislation.
Mr Greenwich said:
“Support for marriage equality in NSW is as high as 75% according to Crosby Textor polling, and our parliament has delivered an unequivocal message that the federal government should grant a free vote on the reform”
Mr Greenwich’s speech highlighted the number of State and Federal MPs from the coalition who support reform, and called on the government to stop delaying the inevitable:
“The Liberal Party claims to be the party of "individual freedom" and a free vote should be its default position on this issue.”
“The longer they delay granting a free vote federally, the longer we fall behind our closest allies like the USA, the UK and New Zealand in treating our LGBTI citizens equally.”
“We must stop showing disrespect to the institution of marriage, which should be about love and commitment and not discrimination.”
Mr Greenwich said that Coalition Premier in NSW including Mike Baird and Barry O’Farrell have supported free votes on reforms, including ones they personally opposed:
“It shows a great maturity in leadership to allow your party members the ability to express a different view than yours, it’s time the Prime Minister showed that maturity and allowed the growing number of coalition supporters of marriage equality the ability to vote for reform,” Mr Greenwich concluded.
Mr Greenwich's motion also called for a respectful debate on the reform:
"It's time the opponents of reform used facts over fear-mongering. Marriage Equality harms no one, costs nothing, and will strengthen relationships and families"
Mr Greenwich thanked the government members including the Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith and the Member for Heathcote Lee Evans for speaking in support of the motion and for a free vote, as well as the Green's Member for Newton Jenny Leong and Labor's Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen
In Question Time today, in response to a question from the Member for Sydney, the NSW Attorney-General also confirmed the NSW Government will be responding to the The Human Rights Commission report on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Intersex rights which identified a number of areas that New South Wales can improve, including ending forced surgical intervention for people transitioning gender.