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Tasmania hits gay marriage stumbling block

HOBART, Tasmania, Australia -- Australian state Tasmania has hit a stumbling block in the process to legalize gay marriage.

According to president of the Legislative Council Sue Smith, she has said it will have a tough time going through Tasmania’s Upper House.

On Saturday (4 August), Premier Lara Giddings told the State Labor Party conference she would move to legalize gay marriage by the end of 2012.

She said: ‘The time has come for that discrimination, that last piece of discrimination, to be removed.’

As the last state in Australia to legalize homosexuality in 1997, Gidding’s statement was a historic moment for the island south of the country.

Giddings said she had legal advice the Australian state could go it alone and she was confident she had the support of all state Labor MPs except Speaker Michael Polley.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome said there had been an overwhelming response to the announcement.

He said: '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.'

To read the full story, click HERE.

To read the reaction from Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality, click HERE. The website includes an informative video and a petition of support for marriage equality.