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Topics In the News
South Australia Premier Endorses Marriage Equality
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/12/12
Last updated on: 08/12/12
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Premier Weatherill.

Following the lead of Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, who on August 4, 2012 announced that the Australian state would legislate marriage equality, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill of South Australia has announced his support for a marriage equality bill sponsored by the Green Party.

As reported here, Premier Giddings told a Labor Party conference that she had received advice from the Solicitor General that there was no legal obstacle to enacting marriage equality at the state level.

Premier Weatherill made the announcement on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide during a rally in support of marriage equality. As the Australian Broadcast Corporation reports, he told the crowd that he will support a Greens bill that is currently before State Parliament and will allow Labor MPs to vote their conscience on the issue.

"People should be entitled to express their own identity in any way they wish and the law shouldn't become a barrier to prevent them from doing that," he said. "So from my perspective, it's a simple question of the dignity of the individual."

Greens MP Tammy Franks, the author of the marriage equality bill in the South Australian Parliament, welcomed the Premier's announcement. She says she will bring a vote on the issue to the Upper House in the next session of Parliament.

"What [Premier Weatherill] could do is allow Labor members to co-sponsor the bill with the Greens and I also welcome Liberals if they want to put their hand up," she said.

"We're happy to work together in this parliament for equality for South Australians."

The rally in Adelaide was part of a national day of action in support of marriage equality across Australia. The rallies, which took place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Canberra and Newcastle, in addition to Adelaide, included mass illegal weddings, marches, and the handing over of a petition against former Prime Minister John Howard's 2004 exclusion of same-sex couples in the Australian Marriage Act.

As Christopher Brocklebank reports in PinkNews, the promoters and organizers of the rallies say that the events are intended to demonstrate to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has remained unbending in her opposition to same-sex marriage, that the determination to overturn the ban will not go away.

Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt told a large crowd in Melbourne that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia was inevitable.

"I know many of you may have woken up this morning and thought, 'How many times do we have to come out before the law is going to change?'" he asked.

"Well, let me tell you," he continued, "it is worth it because you are building up the pressure so much to the point that I feel absolutely confident that sometime soon the dam wall is about to burst."

The video below reports on the rallies in support of same-sex marriage.

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