SSM debate voted down

Earlier coverage: MLC moves to reopen SSM debate

TASMANIA will not pass same-sex marriage laws this year after the upper house rejected a proposal to reconsider the Same Sex Marriage Bill.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest used private member's time today to move debate on whether the Legislative Council should reconsider the Bill in light of new advice on its constitutional validity.

The motion failed eight votes to six this afternoon, with all MLCs who voted against the legislation last year voting it down.

Rumney MLC Tony Mulder, who did support the same-sex marriage legislation, originally said he would vote against the motion because he said reconsidering the Bill would be a waste of time unless those opposed to it had changed their mind.

"Unless there's a real proposition of the Bill itself being passed, this motion cruelly raises the hopes of people who were crushed by the result just last year," Mr Mulder said.

Liberal MLCs Vanessa Goodwin and Leonie Hiscutt, Huon independent MLC Paul Harriss, Launceston MLC Rosemary Armitage, Elwick MLC Adriana Taylor, Windermere MLC Ivan Dean, Western Tiers MLC Greg Hall and Apsley MLC Tania Rattray all voted against the motion.

Most argued they still believed any laws relating to marriage should be left to the Commonwealth, and said the advice of Bret Walker SC, while very credible, was one of many  legal opinions.

"I don't believe that there's sufficient new and compelling evidence for us to reconsider the Same-Sex Marriage Bill," Dr Goodwin said.

Ms Taylor said she opposed the motion, and continued to oppose the Bill, because it set up a separate class of marriage for same-sex couples and that was not true equality.

Derwent Labor MLC, who supported the motion, said equality was the main concern for him but he would be led by what those affected by the law wanted.

"I don't think it's for me to say, well, this is not what you really want," Mr Farrell said.

Hobart MLC Rob Valentine said the looming High Court challenge in the Australian Capital Territory did not automatically apply to the proposed Tasmanian legislation and the threat of a challenge should not prevent the legislation from being re-examined.

"Discrimination in any form needs to be re-examined as to its veracity," Mr Valentine said.

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