The recommendation has been welcomed by marriage equality advocates who are now calling on opposition leader Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
The committee received over 46,000 pro-marriage equality submissions, making up nearly 60% of all submissions received.
Australian Marriage Equality National convener, Alex Greenwich, said this was the first time that a federal parliamentary committee had given its unequivocal endorsement for marriage equality:
‘This is a watershed moment in the marriage equality debate because Coalition, Labor and Greens members of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee have joined forces to help progress a reform a majority of Australians want,’
The Greens’ human rights spokesman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young welcomed the inquiries recommendation,
‘Today is an historic one for many Australian same-sex couples, their families and friends who have wanted their parliament to know why marriage equality matters,’
‘They told us they feel like second class citizens, that their mental health has been impaired because their love is still not treated equally under Australia’s civil marriage law.
Senator Hanson-Young highlighted that the committee has reviewed over 75,000 submissions, the majority of the submissions supported that law being changed.
‘Our parliament has now heard clear evidence of why discrimination should be removed from the Marriage Act. As the inquiry heard, changes made to federal laws in 2008 have rendered same-sex attracted Australians mostly equal under the law, but still separate when it comes to marriage.
“Our parliament must act to remove that obstacle so that two adults who love each other can finally affirm that love in front of their families and friends in Australia, not overseas.
Senator Hanson-Young also noted that the committee’s recommendation that religious organisations would still be free to choose whether or not their particular organisation would perform same sex ceremonies.
Image: Equal Love Rally in Perth 2012
Updated 3:40pm 25-06-12