A NSW Liberal politician who supports gay marriage has said he is ''grateful'' to Premier Barry O'Farrell for setting up an inquiry that yesterday cleared the way for NSW to introduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. ''This is what democracy is about,'' said the Liberal member for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith.
NSW could become the first Australian state to legalise same-sex marriage after the inquiry found NSW has the power to introduce its own law, although this was likely to be challenged in the High Court by opponents of gay marriage.
A group of MPs from across the political spectrum have redrafted a Same Sex Marriage Bill that will be introduced in the upper house of the NSW parliament in the next session. Mr O'Farrell has promised a conscience vote on the issue, and is the first Liberal leader to do so.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said the inquiry has ''made history''.
''Submissions in favour of reform came from across the community - parents, clergy, health and mental health organisations, and prominent individuals from all sides. The number and breadth of submissions in support of marriage equality demonstrates that it is only a matter of time before a change in the law occurs. We look forward to making this a reality in NSW,'' Mr Greenwich said.
The cross party working group, comprised of Mr Greenwich, Mr Notley-Smith, Labor MP Penny Sharpe, Nationals MP Trevor Khan, and the Greens Mehreen Faruqi, said they are confident their private members bill ''is constitutionally valid and would withstand any challenge to the High Court''.