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Gay marriage decision “disappointing”

Friday, 15th November, 2013

Tracey Willow Tracey Willow

By Darrin Manuel

Marriage is still not an option for gay and lesbian couples in Broken Hill after a bill to allow same-sex marriage failed in the NSW Upper House yesterday.

The bill was defeated by just one vote, leaving many supporters believing that the issue has now reached a “tipping point”.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich, a member of the cross-party working group that devised the bill, said he was optimistic for the future.

“Regardless of the result, we know that the gay and lesbian community has a level of respect from our parliament that has not always been there ... this has shown us that marriage equality is doable in NSW,” he said.

A mix of positive and negative emotions were also felt locally, with Far West Community Legal Service CEO Tracey Willow labelling the result “disappointing”.

The Far West Community Legal Service has held a number of events to promote respect, understanding and inclusiveness of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (GLBTI) community.

“This will continue to distress and depress some, and also inspire others to become more active in supporting a movement that is about human rights and an equality for all,” said Ms Willow.

“What is heartening is that the loss was by one vote. This is an important reminder, that change is coming.

“However, we need to be vigilant, and keep lobbying our MPs about why this is important, especially those in rural communities, who think that it is a non-issue.”

Meanwhile the bill’s failure was welcomed by conservative Christian Democratic MP, Fred Nile.

He described the outcome as a “great victory in support of marriage”, but expressed concern at the narrow margin by which the bill was defeated.

He urged “very smart people in the homosexual community” to come up with other words that could be used to describe their relationship other than marriage.-BDT/AAP

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