The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is expected to introduce an equal marriage bill after a parliamentary committee in the country decided that individual states can be responsible for establishing marriage equality legislation.
The committee’s report, which was published last Friday, held that Australia’s federal administration is not the sole authority for legalizing same-sex marriage.
Should it proceed, NSW would be the first Australian territory to have equal marriage laws.
The state’s premier, Barry O’Farrell, had said he would be happy to bring forward a same-sex marriage bill once clarity was received from the committee. However, he outlined his preference for marriage laws to be decided federally.
Openly gay NSW politician Helen Westwood claimed she was “not convinced” equal marriage actually stood a chance of being instituted in the state.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, has stated he plans to hold a referendum on equal marriage nationally. Rudd, who ousted same-sex marriage opponent Julia Gillard as the country’s leader in June, reached out to colleagues and called for cross-party support on the issue.
Members of the parliamentary committee did acknowledge that prospective equal marriage laws from individual states could be challenged in federal courts, putting the legality of same-sex marriage on the stage nationally.