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News: World

Fri 28 Sep, 2012
By Robert Ingham

It could result in South Australia becoming the first state to legalise gay marriage

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South Australia takes centre stage in gay-marriage debate

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SOUTH Australia is the next battleground for gay-marriage activists after Tasmanian upper-house MPs voted down a bill to allow same-sex marriages.

The South Australian parliament will early next year debate a bill legalising same-sex unions, in a move supported by Labor Premier Jay Weatherill.

A private member's bill, co-sponsored by openly gay Social Inclusion Minister Ian Hunter and Greens MP Tammy Franks, is before the state's upper house.

It could result in South Australia becoming the first state to legalise gay marriage, after the Tasmanian upper house on Thursday night rejected a similar bill, in an eight-to-six vote.

Mr Hunter, who will travel to Spain in January to marry his long-time partner, artist Leith Semmens, said he was optimistic his bill would be passed in the upper house when he returned.

He said that, in the wake of the Tasmanian decision, he expected the legislation to immediately become the first gay marriage laws to be tested in the High Court.

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"There are a number of organisations opposed to gay marriage and I think one of them might bring legal action," Mr Hunter said yesterday. " We're not going to be happy about this until we've actually got this changed at the federal level." A legal challenge from the Gillard government was unlikely, he said.

Mr Weatherill has allowed a conscience vote for Labor members on the bill.

Source: The Australian


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