ON THE SAME day the High Court overturned the ACT’s same-sex marriage legislation, the WA Greens Party introduced its own gay marriage bill in State Parliament.
Upper house MP Lynn MacLaren introduced a private member’s bill on December 12, the final sitting day for 2013 for WA’s Legislative Council.
The bill aims to amend the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998 to provide for the registration of same-sex marriages and to amend the Family Court Act 1997 to allow the marriages to be dissolved and annulled.
As part of some of the proposed amendments to various laws, same-sex marriage is included in the definition of marriage, while in the amendments to other laws it is held to be separate to marriage.
If the legislation passes, a same-sex marriage may be solemnised on any day, at any time and at any place in WA.
Lower house MP Lisa Baker also plans to introduce another bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the second half of 2014.
“The bill needs to go through WA Labor caucus and then the parliamentary listing processes,” she told The Record.
The Labor parliamentarian said her private member’s bill would be different to those that have failed in other jurisdictions.
“Those bills were narrowly defeated due to a possible conflict with the constitution,” she said.
“Lessons learned from experience with those bills, various constitutional legal opinions and [today’s] high court decision will inform the drafting of WA’s bill.”
Member of the State’s Legislative Assembly Peter Abetz said while he was not sure whether such a bill would pass in WA, he had no doubts about his own position.
“I think the constitution is very clear that marriage is to be dealt with by the Federal Parliament, rather than the State,” he said.
“From that perspective I think it should not be allowed to proceed.
“But if it did come up for debate, I would vigorously oppose it. I think there would be a lot of MPs who would oppose it, but also quite a few who would support it.”