The Australian state of South Australia has given its backing to the idea of marriage equality. A motion in Parliament to officially congratulate New Zealand for instituting equal marriage passed by one vote on June 19.
On Thursday, the South Australian Parliament will formally debate a proposal to introduce same-sex marriages to the state. The bill will be discussed in the lower house, with government politicians to be given a free vote on the matter.
The Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, has stated that he will vote in favor of marriage equality.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard remains opposed to legalizing equal marriage. However, she has recently become the subject of discussion regarding a possible leadership challenge by her Labor party colleague Kevin Rudd, who announced in May that he is in favor of marriage equality.
The South Australian convenor for Australian Marriage Equality, Harley Schumann, said that this was a chance for the state to act decisively before the country at large debated the issue again.
“We look to South Australia leading the way on this important reform should similar legislation continue to fail in the federal parliament,” Schumann told the Australian newspaper.
New Zealand’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriages on April 17; the legislation will take effect on August 19.