On May 31, the NSW Upper House voted 22 to 16 in favour of the call for the Federal Parliament to amend the marriage act to include same-sex couples.
The Australian Marriage Equality National Convener Alex Greenwich said: "Today's vote in NSW was a victory for love and equality. It also proved that this issue is winning over hearts and minds across the political spectrum"
On the same day, in the Federal Parliament, Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie's motion passed, which ensures that religious celebrants will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages if the change came to pass. Greenwich concluded on this vote that people of faith have nothing to fear from marriage equality.
"Parliament has made it crystal clear that it will not force religious celebrants to act against their religious values and that churches will continue to be able to define marriage as they choose," Mr. Greenwich said.
The Australian Christian Lobby however observes that in countries where the definition of marriage has been altered to include same-sex couples, individuals who do not accept or support same-sex marriages have been subject to harassment and prosecution.
ACL's Managing Director Jim Wallace said countries, such as The Netherlands which legislated for a redefinition of marriage, are beginning to remove religious protections.
"The Netherlands redefined marriage through its legislature in 2001. Until recently, registrars who did not wish to carry out same-sex marriages for religious reasons were legally able to refuse. However, in November, 2011, the Dutch Parliament voted to amend the law to force civil celebrants to conduct same-sex marriages," Mr Wallace said.
Furthermore, he said a number of prominent gay activist and human rights activist groups have asked Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to repeal protections for religious freedom as part of a review of Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation.
"While Mr Wilkie's sentiment is commendable, it is also naive. The gay activists are not at all tolerant when it comes to advancing their agenda, and their track record shows they are unlikely to tolerate the church's refusal to marry same-sex couples if marriage is redefined," he said.
"Their current push to take away the freedom of Christian schools, charities and churches to employ people who share their ethos is testament to the unlikelihood of them allowing churches to refuse same-sex weddings in the long term.
"Even without the law being changed, activists are already hounding dissenters out of public positions, such as Professor Kuruvilla George who was forced to resign last week as a Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Commissioner because he believes in man-woman marriage," Mr Wallace said.