Overall, the inquiry received about 276,000 submissions - not a bad proportion of the total Australian electorate - with about two thirds apparently favouring provision for same-sex marriage. The Australian Labor Party is allowing a conscience vote in parliament, but the Liberals/Nationals will vote as a block against same-sex marriage, ensuring that the reform cannot succeed at this stage. There are some rumblings about a conscience vote from that side of parliament, but right now it appears unlikely to happen.1 Amnesty International Australia2 Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law
3 The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG4 Sikh Council of Australia5 Lutheran Church of Australia6 Quakers Australia7 Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays8 Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby9 Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd10 Australian Human Rights Commission11 Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney12 Hindu Council of Australia13 Australian Catholic Bishops Conference14 Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne15 Coalition of Celebrant Associations16 Chinese Methodist Church in Australia17 Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils Inc.18 The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory19 Lawyers for the Preservation of the Definition of Marriage20 TransGender Victoria21 Australian Christian Lobby22 Law Council of Australia23 Union for Progressive Judaism24 Seventh-day Adventist Church25 DEFGLIS26 Engage Celebrants27 Episcopal Assembly of Oceania28 FamilyVoice Australia29 Rabbinical Council of Victoria30 Australian Marriage Equality31 Australian Family Association32 The Hon. Trevor Khan MLC33 ACT Legislative Assembly34 Liberty Victoria35 Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty36 Democratic Labor Party of Australia37 Australian Marriage Forum38 The Hon. Mr Greg Donnelly MLC39 The Australian Psychological Society Limited40 Castan Centre for Human Rights Law41 Association of Australian Christadelphian Ecclesias42 UnitingJustice Australia
Predictably, the report is inconclusive on the actual merits of same-sex marriage ... which is probably appropriate. I'm not sure that it is the job of a parliamentary committee like this to purport to determine the merits of such an issue. The final chapter commences:
This was an inquiry held to examine legal and social issues relating to the two bills, and the effectiveness of each bill in achieving its stated purpose. It was not an inquiry to determine the merits of same-sex marriage. It is for the Parliament to determine the passage of the bill and this report aims to inform the Parliament in its debate on the text and outcome of each bill.
The report does offer more technical advice on the drafting of the Bills that are currently before parliament - so we will probably seem them being amended. In any event the report is important if only for demonstrating how strong the support for state recognition of same-sex marriage has become in Australia.