The Tasmanian government heeds the signs of the time on efforts to legalise gay marriage in the state, according to Premier Lara Giddings, who on Saturday described her administration's support for the proposed laws as "a very proud moment for all of us."
Same-sex marriage has won the support of most Australians, Ms Giddings claimed, and such 'tipping point' would serve as Tasmania's cue on going ahead of the federal government in lending legitimacy to gay union, both officially opposed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
In an interview with ABC, the Tasmanian premier has indicated that her government will back the passage of a bill that provides legal protection to two persons of the same gender wanting to start a family despite the likelihood that "there is always going to be people in the community that are against this."
"You are never going to have a community 100 per cent behind anything. But the majority of people are saying this is not right and it needs to change," she stressed.
Ms Giddings admitted though that her initiatives may amount to nothing as legal challenges would most likely bring the whole matter to the Australian High Court or even a possible challenge coming from the Gillard Government.
"I have my own legal advice in terms of the Solicitor General who was very clear that there is nothing to preclude us from being able to pursue this matter," the premier insisted.
She was also convinced that since Ms Gillard has yet to fully appreciate the full substance of gay marriage Tasmanian style, Canberra will not raise a howl on the issue at the moment.
However, the Coalition called on Ms Gillard to quickly challenge Tasmania's actions before the High Court as Liberal Senator Eric Abetz warned on Monday that Australia embracing gay marriage would diminish the "fundamental base of our community."
"It s something that when most people contemplate it in detail realise it is socially destructive," the Tasmanian senator told The Australian today.
As the leading federal authority, Ms Gillard needs to immediately address the concerns created by the official position assumed by Tasmanian authorities on the issue of gay marriage, Senator Abetz said.
"The role of protecting federal law is the responsibility of the federal government and so Julia Gillard should come out and say I've made my position clear, the federal law is clear and therefore we will have it struck out in the High Court," the Coalition senior figure stressed.
But the prime minister appears unperturbed by the development, explaining on Sunday that any reaction on the actions of the Tasmanian government regarding gay marriage would be premature since "we don't have any details at this stage."
"We do have a bill before the Federal Parliament dealing with same sex marriage ... and I determined that this should be a conscience vote for the Labor party and people will be free to determine how they vote," Ms Gillard was reported as saying by ABC, reiterating her well-publicised take on the issue.
For its part, the Australian Green, which has been an ardent supporter of gay union, urged the national government not to stand in the way of what Tasmania has been doing, which the party labelled as measures that would lead to "enormous benefits ... to the community ... and end discrimination."
"I call on Julia Gillard to rule out any legal challenge by the Commonwealth to the passage of legislation being passed in Tasmania," Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young told ABC.
Also, Greens leader Christine Milne reiterated her support for Ms Giddings, noting that we "have been driving this agenda nationally and in Tasmania for a long time. It is so important to get rid of discrimination and it will be great for Tasmania to take a leadership role."
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