With Thursday’s historic passage of a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia, the vast majority of Tasmania’s federal parliamentarians joined the nation’s LGBTQI community in celebrating the moment.
This week, Tasmania’s MHRs all had their say on the matter, as the bill was debated on the floor of the lower house.
Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said Tasmania had “a transformative history with respect to LGBTI rights”.
In 1997, Tasmania was the last state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality and yet it was the first to table legislation in its State Parliament seeking to legalise same-sex marriage.
“It is heartening that a majority of Tasmanians are today supportive of marriage equality,” Mr Hart said.
Braddon Labor MHR Justine Keay said her electorate had “come a long way to demonstrate ... that it is a progressive and inclusive community”.
“Braddon, it's fair to say, was probably one of the most homophobic areas in the country,” she said.
“During the late 1980s and early 1990s, our history was marked by explosive anti-gay rallies.
“But, out of these rallies, exceptional people stood up and fought back with strength and determination.”
One of those people, Ms Keay said, was marriage equality advocate Rodney Croome.
Mr Croome was recognised in every Tasmanian MP’s speech in the debate.
Independent Denison MHR Andrew Wilkie said Tasmania’s past homophobia had, in a sense, been a force for positive change.
“Upon reflection, I think Tasmania has led the way because being the last state to decriminalise homosexuality … taught us first-hand the damage caused by prejudice and taught us the importance of inclusion,” Mr Wilkie said.
Lyons Labor MHR Brian Mitchell noted that people in rural and regional communities were “stereotyped” as conservatives.
“I'm … confident that the vast majority of people across Lyons are fundamentally fair-minded,” he said.
“That was reflected in the outcome of the postal survey.”
Franklin Labor MHR Julie Collins said she accepted that some people in her electorate of Franklin may disagree with her support for marriage equality.
“I trust they accept the majority view of the electorate of Franklin, the state of Tasmania and the nation,” she said.