Later today, the Tasmanian parliament will debate an ALP-Greens bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the state. While the idea of state-based marriage laws for same-sex couples has been around for a while, Tasmania is the first state to get as far as debating such a law. South Australia and the ACT have indicated they are considering going down the same path.
As laudable as any effort to move the marriage equality agenda forward is, the Tasmania approach throws up a number of questions and, in the wrong set of circumstances, could ultimately frustrate efforts to enact true marriage equality at the federal level. The issues involved are complex, and I am not a lawyer, but I’ll try to make the best sense of them, in the briefest possible time, as I can.