Why is marriage equality important and don’t same-sex couples have enough rights?
Opponents of marriage equality often declare that same-sex couples do not need to marry because they already have access entitlements as de facto partners.
There are very practical advantages to marrying which are denied to same-sex partners, including greater protections and recognition in cases of emergencies, death of spouse, and other instances where proof of a married relationship is vital. There are also less tangible advantages which greatly benefit same-sex partners, their families, and their communities.
The decision to marry is a serious one. It is not just a party to celebrate a relationship. It is an important step in the lives of the couple involved, sometimes the most important step they will ever take.
Marriage is a solemn life moment about love and commitment. It is one of our most fundamental human rights.
Who supports marriage equality?
Well over 60% of Australians support marriage equality. Since 2004, more than 11 million Australians have already changed their view and now support equal rights for all couples. In NSW, the latest Galaxy poll show that 62% of people support reform.
But isn’t marriage a federal issue?
In 2004, the Howard Government amended the Marriage Act in 2004 to deliberately exclude same-sex couples. Constitutional experts including Professor George Williams believe that the states can therefore legislate for marriage rights for those couples who fall outside the “man and woman” definition inserted in the Marriage Act in 2004.
According to George Williams, “the constitution grants the Federal Parliament a concurrent, rather than exclusive, power to make marriage laws. As with other areas such as taxation, this means that the states also retain power in the area.” 
There are a number of experts who believe that a state law that provides for marriage equality by allowing for same-sex marriage between two adults regardless of their sex falls sufficiently outside of the Commonwealth Marriage Act would not be unconstitutional.
As George Williams points out referring to the Tasmanian Same-sex Marriage Bill:
… because the laws operate in different fields, with the federal law covering heterosexual marriage and the Tasmanian bill dealing only with same-sex marriage. It is impossible for a person to be married under both at the same time.
Only the High Court can resolve this question.
The issue of a possible High Court Challenge should not have deterred legislators. After all, where there are lawyers, there are differences of opinion.
Will it lead to a slippery slope to polygamy and marrying pets?
No! Marriage equality is about giving all adult couples the right to marry. The love and commitment between two same-sex partners is the same as the love between two opposite sex partners. If heterosexual marriage hasn’t lead to polygamy, then same-sex marriage certainly won’t. Same-sex marriage is not a radical social experiment, it has been around for over a decade throughout Europe and North America and hasn’t lead to the alarmist predication of opponents.
Will the churches be forced to marry same-sex couples?
No. In Australian law, there has always been a clear distinction between civil and religious marriage. Allowing same-sex couples to marry will not affect the ability of religions to conduct marriages according to their religious beliefs. The State Marriage Equality Bill will include strong protection for churches.