A bill which would make same-sex marriage legal in Australia will be introduced in the country’s Senate this week, reports suggest.
It will be submitted by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm. The Senate is one of two legislative bodies which make up the Australian Parliament. It is sometimes called the ‘upper house’.
The Freedom to Marry Bill would apply to gay, transgender and intersex people. It would to change the wording of Australia’s Marriage Act, which currently defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman”. Leyonhjelm’s bill would change that to “the union of two people”.
Senator Leyonhjelm said that he supported marriage equality because “people ought to have the freedom to choose their own path”.
He added that with same-sex or transgender marriage currently prohibited in Australia, “a major choice is being closed off”.
Ivan Hinton-Teoh, the deputy director of LGBT rights campaign group Australian Marriage Equality welcomed the bill. He said that it was time for the country to “rejoin the company of nations, like the UK, the US, Canada and New Zealand” which have all passed laws allowing same-sex marriage.
The Freedom to Marry Bill marks the latest attempt by an Australian politician to introduce marriage equality. Last year, openly gay Labour Party Senator Penny Wong made the case for a conscience vote on the issue.
Australia also refuses to recognise same-sex unions when they take place elsewhere. In July, the country would not recognise a gay marriage which took place at the British Consulate in Sydney.
Photo of the Australian Senate in Canberra by Alex Proimos via Flickr