A public hearing for the House of Representatives’ Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Bill of 2012 and the Marriage Amendment Bill is being held in Sydney today. The House’s Social Policy and Legal affairs committee is conducting the inquiry to consider legal and technical aspects of the two Bills, and will be compiling a report on the issues raised and contributions received.
Pro-marriage equality speakers at today’s hearing include Australian Marriage Equality (AME) , P-FLAG, and the NSW Gay and Lesbian rights Lobby.
To facilitate public comment, in addition to today’s public hearing the Inquiry has also established an online survey
The push for marriage equality has received a boost from an unexpected quarter with 60 multi-faith clergy writing an open letter encouraging people to support marriage equality. The letter was released by AME on April 4, and came shortly after 6 Victorian Catholic Bishops encouraged parishioners to complete the survey and express their opposition to marriage equality.
In the pro-equality letter the clergy said:
‘As clergy from various different faiths and denominations in Australia, we believe marriage is a fundamental institution in our society. It fosters greater commitment between partners, provides children with a sense of security and stability, and strengthens ties with families and communities. Marriage is a blessing to be shared, so we encourage people of faith who support marriage equality to voice their support for the reform by responding to the House of Representatives inquiry on same-sex marriage today.’
Despite such support, Australian Marriage Equality’s Alex Greenwich advises that unlike in the recent Senate inquiry, the number of people completing the survey in favour of marriage equality has been lower than the numbers opposing it and urges people to complete the survey before the April 20 deadline.