MLCs have been urged not to wait for the outcome of a possible High Court challenge to same-sex marriage laws passed in the Australian Capital Territory yesterday before reconsidering Tasmanian legislation.
The single-chamber ACT Parliament yesterday passed same-sex marriage laws nine votes to eight.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said federal Attorney-General George Brandis's threat to challenge the laws in the High Court did not deter her government.
``That should not deter us, it doesn't rattle us and it doesn't change our path,'' she said.
But it might deter Tasmanian MLCs, who have previously expressed reluctance to reconsider this state's Same-Sex Marriage Bill while there was a live threat of a High Court challenge.
Tasmania's attempt to legalise marriage was lost by one vote in the upper house last year, with a number of those voting against the bill raising concerns that it was constitutionally invalid for a state to legislate on marriage.
Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest will attempt to reopen the debate on Tuesday in light of new information, most recently a legal opinion by one of Australia's top constitutional barristers, Bret Walker, SC, that says the Tasmanian legislation could survive a High Court challenge.
In his advice, provided to Australian Marriage Equality, Mr Walker said Tasmania's legislation does not conflict in any way with the federal Marriage Act.
The Commonwealth law defines marriage as between a man and a woman but does not explicitly refer to or rule out same-sex marriage. Therefore, Mr Walker says, it does not preclude the possibility of other types of marriage.
Mr Walker also said there was no indirect conflict because a same-sex marriage under the state-based legislation would have a different legal status to a marriage under the existing Marriage Act.
Ms Forrest said the Tasmanian legislation was more robust and likely to sustain a challenge than the ACT legislation, which does refer to the Marriage Act, so that even if the ACT laws were overturned it would not necessarily topple the Tasmanian laws.
She said if MLCs were genuine in their comments last year that they had concerns about the constitutional validity of the legislation, then they would support her motion to debate whether the laws ought to be reconsidered.