Marriage Equality Legislation Tabled Tue 28 August 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version Download hi-res version A historic Bill to introduce marriage equality in Tasmania will be debated on Thursday. The Premier, Lara Giddings, said she was proud to co-sponsor legislation with Greens Leader, Nick McKim. "I am committed to this reform because I fundamentally believe in ending discrimination wherever it exists," Ms Giddings said. "It was not that long ago that Tasmania was the laughing stock of the country, as the only state in Australia where intolerance against homosexual people was still enshrined in legislation. "This shameful example of discrimination was not addressed until 1997 with the passage of gay law reform. "Since then, the Labor Party in Tasmania has worked to reinforce and protect the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. "Now we have an opportunity to lead the nation to topple the last pillar of discrimination that exists in our community against same-sex couples. "I firmly believe that society has reached a tipping point and that the time has come to allow loving and committed same-sex couples to celebrate their relationship in the same way as people in heterosexual relationships. "Recent polling by EMRS shows 61 per cent of Tasmanians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry while 54 per cent believe the state should go ahead with its own marriage equality laws "As we speak South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory are preparing to follow Tasmania's lead." Ms Giddings said the State Government had built upon Nick McKim's Private Members' Bill in order to swiftly draft detailed and robust legislation which has been reviewed and endorsed by constitutional experts, including George Williams. "There was no reason or need to delay this important debate, which is why we have used the earliest available opportunity to introduce legislation. "It is my hope that Will Hodgman has listened to the community and individuals in his own party and will reverse his decision not to grant a conscience vote on this very important issue."