BALLARAT identity and gay rights campaigner Ron Egeberg yesterday welcomed the ACT’s historic same-sex marriage decision.
Speaking after writing a two-page letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, urging the federal government to not oppose the bill, Mr Egeberg said it was now time other states followed suit.
“The ACT is one of Australia’s more progressive jurisdictions and it is heartening to see it lead the way with marriage equality,” Mr Egeberg said.
“I hope that other states and the Northern Territory take notice of this and importantly that the federal government does not challenge the ACT decision in the High Court.”
Mr Egeberg – himself openly gay and in a committed relationship for more than 18 years – said being a civil celebrant further cemented his belief anyone should be able to be recognised by marriage.
Under the ACT’s new law, same-sex couples from across Australia will be able to marry in Australia by the end of the year after the Legislative Assembly passed a bill to establish Australia’s first same-sex marriage scheme.
The federal government will challenge the constitutionality of the bill in the High Court of Australia.
Mr Egeberg called on Mr Abbott to allow federal MPs a conscience vote and in turn another vote in the federal parliament.
“I implore you to show leadership by not fighting this decision in the High Court,” his letter to Mr Abbott says.
“As Australians, we believe in fairness and equality for all. Marriage equality should be a right for everyone.”
Yesterday’s same-sex marriage law was passed eight votes to seven with Labor and Greens members supporting it.
Eight Liberal members opposed the bill.