New South Wales lawmakers today began debate on a law to create a new institution called ‘same-sex marriage’ in the state.

Fifteen members of the Legislative Council spoke on the bill. Eight MLCs spoke in support of the bill while seven declared their intention to vote against the legislation. Three MLCs who had previously spoken in parliament in support of redefining marriage said they would vote against the NSW bill.

Niall Blair, Scot MacDonald and John Ajaka, all supporters of same-sex marriage, stated their opposition to the bill, saying instead that marriage laws were a matter for the Australian Parliament, not the states.

Letters from Cardinal George Pell and Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies were read out by a number of MLCs opposing the bill.

Many MLCs referred to the large amounts of emails and correspondence they had received regarding the bill.

Debate on the bill will resume in a fortnight.