About 70 Tasmanian marriage equality supporters gathered at Parliament House Aug. 5 to toast Premier Lara Gidding's announcement that Tasmania will become the first Australian state to allow same-sex couples to marry (two pictures attached).
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said there has been an overwhelming response to yesterday's announcement by Premier Giddings.
"In the last 24 hours the response to Lara Gidding's announcement from same-sex couples and their families across the state and the nation has been overwhelming, with emails pouring in asking 'when can we marry?'."
"Overnight, Tasmania has become a beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of Australians."
At today's gathering Mr Croome thanked Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings and the Tasmanian Labor Party Conference, which yesterday endorsed state marriage equality, Tasmanian Greens' Leader, Nick McKim, who was the first state MP in Australia to introduce state marriage equality in 2005, Australian Greens' Leader, Christine Milne, whose legislation decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 (both of whom attended today's event), and those members of the crowd who had campaigned for so long for equality.
"Today I saw faces of people who were arrested in defence of our rights, who protested at anti-gay rallies, who spoke heart-to-heart with legislators to change their minds, and I thanked them all for the love and courage which has brought us to this point."
Mr Croome also welcomed support for state marriage equality laws from the Tasmanian Small Business Council saying it increases pressure on the Tasmanian Liberal Party to allow a conscience vote.
"My message to Will Hodgman is simple - have a heart and support a reform that will be great for Tasmania."
In a statement issued TSBC Executive Officer, Robert Mallett, said, "Modelling which has been provided to the TSBC demonstrates that Tasmania could benefit by the tune of $100 million if it adopts the principle of same sex marriage and is the first state to do so. The proposal seems sound and would help achieve what the vast majority of Tasmanian small businesses are saying...we need more customers."
Also today, marriage equality supporters launched a new video and website which seeks to explain how and why Tasmania should lead the nation on marriage equality.
The video and website can be found at: www.tasunited.org .